how do you sleep at night
when you know you’re living a lie?

how do you walk through the day
when you know you’re haunted by demons invisible?

you don’t like what you see
but what can you do?

you step into the future
with hopes of a better tomorrow
but so far so fast the future
is another wrap of sorrow.

you settle down by the roadside
and singsong to your stomach’s rumble
silently praying the man with a smile
will drop a note, neat or crumbled

you stretch out trembling fingers
but he looks the other way
chuckling into the phone

night falls as fast as your hopes
you crawl into a dark corner
and with trembling fingers
wipe the tears in your eyes

you visited the future but you don’t want to be there

you’re sitting by the side of your bed —
pieces of rags —
ready to sleep now
but you’ll have no sweet dreams
you’ll be haunted by ghosts in the future
and be mocked by demons of the past

yet you shut your teary eyes
say a prayer in a trembling heart
coil into a shapeless ball
and snore into dreamland

to scream out of your sleep many years later
in the future you dread
demons in agbada and brocade
on the stage of everything good
singing: “welcome to the future”

“you can’t escape Nigeria
you pledge to serve this land
in loss of gain
in loot or pain
welcome to the future”

you sit up
you sigh
you get up
you smile
you know you’re trapped


how do you sleep at night
when you know you’re living a lie?


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30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu banner
Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachi is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

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