Birds of Chibok | Viola Allo

For the kidnapped girls of Government Secondary School Chibok, Nigeria

I.

We are the children
of the birds. They call up
to us, call down
to us, call out
to us. Forever talking /
walkabout
with song
we sing back to them /
to each other
always the same
mournful / hopeful song
of home.

II.

This forced flight /
brutal bite /
terrorist
blight
this blow to the wings
of people / country /
continent /
planet
is no sweet roar /
no true / ancient tune.
It cannot
win.

III.

We are the children
of Chibok / birds
of Chibok.
Tally our hijacked
days, rally your voices
to remember us
and sing. Tomorrow is
your baby today / unblemished
great egret on the Niger /
gifted with cries / songs
deeper / longer
than the reddened
rivers of our time.