the first rule of survival
this country is the mouth of a badland / & here i carry survival in my pocket / like a knife / jostle with the beasts of this savage nation / for water / for life / for the security of my lifeblood / a rare cactus sap is drumming in my jugular / its rhythm in line with the beat of death / —that familiar, dehiscent death / dry as a bone / hollow like the memory of nothing // on these sands of horror / i wear the scarred face of a dune / & this face / where death first made its mark / is for me, a beacon of pride // see / the first rule of survival is not to die / i am a testament / to every death that came & left empty-handed.
Timi Sanni writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He won the SprinNG Poetry Contest 2020, the Fitrah Review Short Story Prize 2020, and was the third-place winner of the Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize 2021. Find him on Twitter @timisanni
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