How I See America from Nigeria

by Ebuka Evans

I am not black
In Nigeria, they call people like me fair
This is our own dilution of race

At birth my mum threw me to sunlight
I fell down rays, peeping through closed doors
until I quenched a shadow

Today, a man in America was murdered
It’s not my business, I sell perfumes for a living
because I live in a shit-hole for a country

But I met his blood at my doorstep
Last night when I shone into the dark
I tasted his blood on my tongue, the way one talks about death

In America, I would be called black
even though I look like custard and cream
Today, a man in America was murdered

On the midnight news, he looked like sun
I could swear he never saw dark days
But darkness. There is a difference

Mum doesn’t talk about it, father slips it
into his newspaper pages and dumps it among a multitude of words.
Here they talk of rape

We are grouped into factions living within a compass
Igbos die in the north
Hausas in the east

And the government wears a face mask with a zip
Because there is a virus and talking is dangerous
Someone might cough

America is a far place
But the news calls people that look like me a sin
A knee on their neck makes me look at my skin

Mum told me to get salt
so she placed a lid under my eyes for our soup

Ebuka Evans a poet from Nigeria. He is currently pursuing a B.A. in English and Literature at the University of Nigeria. His work has been published in or is forthcoming from Third Coast, Déraciné, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry, Rigorous, and elsewhere.

The Roadrunner Review nominated How I See America from Nigeria for Best of the Net.