He Pays a Visit


Among the grasses

You finish writing a novel, you polish and rewrite, hand it over to your agent and re-polish and rewrite again, pass it on to the editor at the publisher and do that all again, sometimes writing new sections or insights to answer their queries. The book goes out, people read it, comment, give reviews. I went through this process with my first novel Night Must Wait, the novel about the Nigerian Civil War.

Sounds like it’s all done, doesn’t it? But sometimes the characters don’t know the fighting’s finished. One of mine came by in the evening and gave me a few words. His name was Thomas Jantor, and he’s dead, but he reminded me that it’s never over.

when it grew late

Lie down in quiet then,
you are too young to still be waking
at this hour. I will shape
the earth for you, and place the
treasured relic of your enemy,
Here, the bone you tore from his leg,
so grisly a fragment to carry home,
but take it with you, remember me,
and remind them, small soldier–
leave a door ajar for me too.

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