Facts and Verity

Being born Nigerian, leaves one with a myriad of skills and lessons

Every Nation and race after all has peculiar experiences,

Human environments vary like different shades of black and white

Being Nigerian thought me well, the difference between facts and verity

I had a talent, my own interpretation for figures.

Fact taught me 23% of Nigerians were living unemployed

I was 12, I heard it on the radio and percentages confused me

Papa, who understood facts, was always on the living room couch

He just sat there night and day, drenched in his own sweat

He reeked of cheap liquor and something I didn’t recognize then

Today, I realize it unemployment, Papa was a struggling man

Verity taught me shame, seeing papa weak and quiet haunted me

The couch too began to haunt me, even in my dreams

There papa is standing on the couch holding up a certificate and smiling

Exactly like his old portrait, the papa I would have loved

Verity taught me papa was different from the man smiling there

The invisible dreams present in the portrait are all dead now

All that remains are empty tales Papa tells on Sundays

He talks about long gone days, imaginary days when everything was better

Then he talked about school, so many certificates and long words

He spoke in words I did not understand

Verity taught me still about retrenchment and comforting hunger

Papa knew a lot of facts, facts he never should have bothered to learn

Facts like how many people lived on less than a dollar by day

Verity had made papa was a shadow, a fickle shell

I have never understood facts properly but they terrify me.

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