Poetry from Laura Kaminski and David Subacchi

Jos Market

after another bombing in Jos, Nigeria on Thursday, 26-February-2015

it’s cold outside

in our house
close to the window
I keep a grand bowl

filled overflowing
with the children of trees —
mangoes, plantains

this bowl
is a sun
Nigerian sun
my sun

my arms and hands
wrap around the whole of it

my body
embraces it


mercy, it’s

–Laura M Kaminski


A Mother’s Prayer

Will you allow me
To educate my son
As a mother does
Boko Haram
To give good example
To the sons of others

Or will you take him
To be taught
In your way
Boko Haram
To kill others
Without mercy

For God is merciful

The son of Ibrahim
Was spared
The son of Abraham
Was spared
No human sacrifice
Was required

In return for belief
In God
In God

For God is merciful

Be merciful to me
That is my prayer
Boko Haram
Not my way
Not your way
But God’s way

— David Subacchi &
Laura M Kaminski


Dust on Our Hands

It’s not straightforward
Or maybe it is
Culture, past and civilisation
Should not be erased
With sledge hammers
And power drills

The architecture
Of minorities
That has endured
Thousands of years
Should not be shattered
As an act of warfare
The precious treasures

Of an ancient heritage
Should not be looted
Fragile manuscripts
Should not be burned
To erase identity

A bulldozer
Driven by militants
Should not level
To the ground
Nimrud’s statues
Walls and castle

Far away in London
Curators carefully clean
The great stone lions
And magnificent bulls
That were taken in 1847
To an empire’s museum

You should not
Pulverise the past
In an attempt
To control the future
But perhaps we all have
Some dust on our hands.

–David Subacchi


Call Me Down the Rain

work-song honoring those attempting to return home
to territory reclaimed from Boko Haram

I must dance a circle
bring the monsoon
call me down the rain

pray like someone greedy
give me give me give
more than my share

of this year’s water
bring it bring it bring
the water, carry me the river

call me down the rain
and flood the plateau, bring
rags and buckets to me

you will find me on
my knees and scrubbing
more than red dust

more than harmattan,
I must scrub the northland
clean down to the bedrock

how can we return
to farm and village, how
can we plant new crops

in this earth from which
we’ve lifted the broken
bodies of kin and country

washed them, taken them,
them all, to mourn and bury?
how can we till land

charred from bomb-blasts,
how can we plant when
we keep finding bullet-

casings in the soil?
our lips will not permit
yam and cassava grown

in blood-soaked dirt
to cross them, our bodies
will refuse such tainted

nourishment. no. you
must carry the Benue
here, bring bring me

water, call me down
the rain so I can first
scrub the stains

of blood and bitterness,
scrub until there’s
nothing left but dancing

here, until the stain is
gone from memory,
from sole and soul —
call me down the rain

–Laura M Kaminski


David Subacchi studied at the University of Liverpool.  He was born in Wales of Italian roots and writes in English, Welsh and sometimes in Italian.   Cestrian Press has published two collections of his poems. ‘First Cut’ (2012) and ‘Hiding in Shadows’ (2014).

Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba) grew up in northern Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives in rural Missouri. She is an Associate Editor at Right Hand Pointing; links to her published poetry are available at arkofidentity.wordpress.com

5 thoughts on “Poetry from Laura Kaminski and David Subacchi

  1. Pingback: Collaborative Sequence with David Subacchi up at Synchronized Chaos | The Ark of Identity

  2. These poems are exquisite, the sadness is beautifully expressed. It does not overwhelm but promises relief in healing rain, and a mother’s hopes.

  3. Thank you for these thoughtful sensitive poems. The pain in them is managed so beautifully, not dishonored but measured out so that it can be taken in.

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