Anser Journal

A Short History
of Grief

By NM Bassey

My home was a war within a war.
Sometimes survival happens to you, other times it becomes you.
I buried six dead babies
because my body couldn’t speak their tongues
but I cannot forget their names.
In the morning, my people say have you risen? If I am a sun, why is my world darkness?
When my grief sleeps, I will play Ludo with my sister to hear her laugh when she wins.
Laughter is a reminder: we don’t look like what we come from.
In twenty eight days, I will weep blood and disappointment. In seven, I will remake the earth.
I don’t remember your face. I don’t remember the imprint of your hand on my neck breaking my
At midnight, witches wait in covens
while I lie awake wondering when my joy will return.

NM Bassey is a Black African writer and poet. They live and work in Nigeria.