One year today, since Dana Flight 992…

One year today, since Dana Flight 992 crashed in Lagos, killing all 153 persons on board, and an estimated ten persons on the ground. I knew at least 3 people on that flight quite well – one secondary school classmate, one writing workshop classmate, and one former work colleague. All in their early thirties; all with their lives ahead of them. 

*

This poem was written in 2005, for the victims of the Bellview Airlines flight which crashed Oct. 22, 2005 in Lisa village, Ogun State, Nigeria, killing all 117 people on board.

THE MESSENGER
(For Bellview, October 2005)

by Tolu Ogunlesi
Pick your way bravely through a cross
word-puzzle of split-open 
luggage 

and watch how high your kites
of fortitude will soar before crashing.
Death is a misleading mess

-enger. If I have stretched farther
than life or logic, she sings,
it is because I stand

atop the shoulders of eternity.
Today, the dead and the living have chosen
to mourn each other.

Even the dead dream of death
and leave the living to awaken
and confront the sequels.

To make a strong perfume,
mix the stench of Lisa
with the memories of her entombed,

and pressurize it with the madness
of grief. Spray it, simultaneously
from all one hundred

and seventeen corners of Nigeria, till
the ozone darkens into a permanent pall,
till death immolates herself by asphyxiation.

(c) Tolu Ogunlesi

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