They used to be boys.

{listen to audio as you read :)}

I wonder about the boys
who wake early to rip the air out of lungs,
Boys, because they are still their mother’s sons,
Boys, because they once sat at their father’s feet.

I wonder what they were like when they were younger,
Did they play football barefeet while the sun kissed their backs?
Did they dance in the rain or play in its puddles?
or run around in singlets and shorts belting out laughs?
Did they bruise their knees climbing guava trees?
Did the northern wind wrap them in its calm?
I wonder if they ever wished on stars
or played police and thief under the moonlight ?

I wonder if they ever thought about the future,
Did they know that they would
One day shake the foundations of an entire nation?
Did they know that they would be the reason why
sons never see their fathers again?
and mothers never hear their daughters laugh?
Did they know that they would,like forgotten treasure,
bury fear in the hearts of the young and old alike?
Did they know that they would stop thousands of hearts from beating?

I wonder if they pray to God at night,
Do they ask for forgiveness for taking away his children’s tomorrow?
Do they know there are people whose knees are sore from praying
that life cuts open their hearts to put the same amount of pain they have put out?
Do they know we are still waiting for our girls?
The ones they took in broad daylight from their school
and that their mothers are left with sobs knotted in their throats and sand in their hands?
I want to know because we have wailed and prayed and marched,
and all we have left are hissing lungs and faint breath,
We are tired and shaken,
afraid to leave our houses,
afraid to go to bus stations or malls,
afraid to even visit the house of God.

You know,
they used to be boys; our boys,
until they waged war on us,
They used to be ours
until they stained our streets with blood,
Now I wonder if they know a bomb lays where their hearts once stood,
I wonder if they know that beneath the mess they have made,
lay our brothers and our sisters,
limbs ripped off, flesh hanging loose,
beneath the rubble there are no tribes or religion,
no northerners or southerners, only children.
God’s children.

34 thoughts on “They used to be boys.

  1. No one can say this any better than you have. so heartbreaking, I’m almost in tears. This is so relevant, so important, so necessary, so amazingly well done. Great job!

    Somewhere along the line we all, or at least I stopped thinking about those boys as people. It’s somehow worse to remember that they are. To think about what humans like us are really capable of becoming. I have many more thoughts about this but I’ll stop here. God save Nigeria.

    1. I cried writing this and by the end i was shaking. I did not even know i was harbouring so much hurt from all that has happened in Nigeria in the last few months.

      Very glad i could somehow bring a human outlook to these bombers because they are really human beings like the rest of us. It is scary to think that we could become the monsters we feared as children. God save Nigeria and i hope our girls come back.

      Thank you so much for reading this and commenting 🙂

  2. Thank you for writing something so beautiful. I hope these people can somehow, someday remember that they used to be boys.

  3. And once again, you’re thoughts so Crystal defined have my insides burning… I don’t have the right words to capture how I feel but I hope a lost soul somewhere just might find its path again.

  4. Beautifully written and recited ….I could picture everything in my head and that makes you a true artist. ..God help us

  5. Your writing is a gift from God. Watch out yall, a star has been born and she will reach this world! Amazing work! Truth in every word.

  6. This was so eloquently written. I could read the hurt in your words and hear it in your voice. I hope somehow, these people can see beneath the barriers and delusions that have driven them to perpetrate such evil. I hope they somehow find hope. I pray the best for the kidnapped girls too. Great stuff.

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