To my Small Shadowy Room of Metal Bars

There are truths whose only power is pain.

The truth that when joy grows heavy

It sinks back into our mind

Or we sink back into whatever water we floated over before.


A man leaving prison will only find

the world is just as small.

He starts missing the shadows

of long metal bars on his face.


How they are what this country will never be:

Different steel sentries uniting for a course.

Freedom begins to sound like curse,

'A land ruled by the free.'


Those who slumber in senate

And wake up with rules about hardwork,

Those who brawl and batter

just to make laws of peace,


Those whose job it is to say

"float, but don’t sink”

And we feel floating means hope.


We are swimming around in circles

because our compass whose voice

our TVs know well has broken... No!  Has always been broken.


I feel like sinking,

I feel like leaving this big world of little joys and walking

back to my small shadowy room of metal bars.



Salam Wosu, a poet and aspiring novelist, is a Chemical Engineer from Nigeria. His works are on or forthcoming in Glass Poetry Press, Kissing Dynamite, Agbow├│, The Mark Literary, Rhythm & Bones, Brave Voices and Mounting the Moon (An Anthology of queer Nigerian poems). He is @salam_wosu on all platforms.




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