When my mother spoke of war heroes,
She told us about men like our neighbor
Abraham, (who spoke to the shadows at sunset)
who feared sleeping in a dark room
men the revolution swallowed whole.

She told us of their lion hearted bravery,
how they slid into the night
leaving behind all their belongings
to return the voice that was stolen from us
while nations battered with land
that did not belong to their ancestors,
bright eyed, teeth barring
Abraham, the noble hearted
she called him.

Sometimes, early in the morning
I could hear him sing
a three song melody to his beloved
drowned in half a bottle of whiskey
before noon.

He sang of memories long forgotten
that came alive in his dreams
her name a prayer in the dead of night
whispered to chase away the terrors.

Years later I found an old photograph,
my mother smiling into the sun
standing next to a brown skinned man
whiskey eyes crinkled / filled with laughter
on the back in fluid script it read,
Abraham and his beloved.

By N.L. Shompole


N.L. Shompole was born in Kenya and currently lives, works and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area California. Her previous works have been featured in Maps for Teeth, Kinfolks Quarterly, Invitation Annual and most recently Words Dance Publishing as well as Vagabond City Literary Journal. She has authored four poetry collections including one chapbook Cassiopeia at Midnight and Anatomy of Surrender, a compilation of poems from a yearlong poetry project completed in December 2014. Her latest collection Spectre Specter Blue Ravine was released November 2015 to spectacular reviews.

She can be reached at

Or via

Goodreads //
Instagram// NLShompole
Twitter // Luciasolaris


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