Tolulope Ogedengbe’s How We Spend Our Nights in COVID Times was shortlisted for June 2020 Collins Elesiro Literary Prize.

We spend our nights
watching as catastrophe casts
caskets of casualties on our earth.
we spend our nights brooding about
the plague that spreads like wide fire
across our land, the cities that bear
the stripes of chaos, and the bodies of men
that wear the cologne of discomfort.

We spend our nights in
a makeshift shelter, talking about the
turbulent storm that hits our land:
the leafy trees falling with
dead songs, the branches cracking
through empty limbs, the lives
being eaten into oblivion, and the dreams
dying on their way to fulfilment.

We spend our nights
trying to save ourselves from
the dread of death, from the disaster
that threatens to snatch our life. We spend
our nights chewing dark thoughts
on our weary mattresses, pondering on how
to make it through the stormy days
and survive the struggles of COVID times.