Winners of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Winners of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Winners of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Here is the highly anticipated list of the winners of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest. Now in its fourth year, the prize seeks to recognize the best literary works by Nigerian writers aged 21 years and below.

This year we received 145 poems and 87 flash fiction pieces from which our guest judges: Nome Emeka Patrick, selected three winners for the poetry category and Dr. Arthur Anyaduba picked the top three flash fiction entries.

Here are the winners with comments from the judges:

Poetry Category

Winner: “Hydrology” by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

It wasn’t so hard to choose this poem as the winning poem. Few lines into it, I was pulled deep into Chinwenite’s language, and its responsibility to clarity, and to the way, it paddles his story. Chinwenite’s is a moving poem. Its position is at the threshold of love, a paradigmatic poise of what it means to reach into desire & (re)claim it. Anne Carson writes, “All lovers believe they are inventing love”, & this poem not only moves along the edge of this assertion but also finds a way to embody it in a novel way. In this poem, the reader is made witness to the lover, the beloved, and the passion that burns in the proximity between them. Healing is the core of love, and Chinwenite doesn’t fail to reiterate this in this brilliant poem.

First Runner-up: “She Stared Back at Us with Eyes Closed” by Amarachi Iwuafor

Amarachi’s poem is a poetic monologue, a plunge into mourning that comes with the realization of loss, the acceptance of it, and the constant groping to make sense of it. Here, I kept rereading this poem, & I’m marveled at its simplicity, a subtlety that isn’t really a subtlety, but an attempt at eloquence in the face of grief. By offering us her own version of it, Amarachi seems to be telling us this is how the loss of someone undoes us. And there’s this catharsis that lurks in these lines, “How often we grope for life/ when we are close to death.”, one anyone would immediately be struck with. This is a breathtaking poem! No pun intended.

Second Runner-up: “In the Name of Transcendentals” by Ibe Obasiota Ben

Ibe’s In The Name of Transcendentals is a powerful poem. I am particularly drawn by its voice, the effortlessness at which the lines spill forth, and its originality. I admire how this poem seems to interrogate the idea of death and grief and the ‘others’, how it orbits around these subjects with grace and simplicity. This is a great poem.

Honourable mentions:

“Melody of Anarchy” by Ajani Samuel Victor

“This Thing Called Death” by Blessing Anaso

“in which my dead grandfather calls yet again through the mouth of a door” by Mayowa Oyewale

“Grieving, my body feels like laughter caught young in its youth” by Chukwu Emmanuel

Flash Fiction Category

Dr. Arthur Anyaduba writes: “These stories are the products of supremely talented writers who clearly understand the foibles and the intimate struggles of living and experiencing life. These writers have mastered the art of making storytelling into an affective experience. The stories are also quintessentially ‘Nigerian’ in their imaginative worlds, their sounds, and the manifold experiences that they tell powerfully.

“What I found most curious about all the stories is that even in their varied forms and concerns they tell about similar experiences and situations provoking similar kinds of emotions: childhood trauma and abuse, the angst of loss and pain, and the complexities of human relationships. The quality of writing and the depth of imagination of these stories are incredible. There’s always that strange feeling of self scorn that I get each time I ‘judge’ a story to determine its worth, its rating in relation to others, its strengths, and whatnot. But these stories have all refused to be judged.

“Each one of them that I read left me confounded and lost in its storied world. I found myself unable to judge, to assess, to rank the stories. Instead, the stories forced me to think and to feel. The victory of these stories over me was that they took me in without my recognizing how deep; they made me look at experiences more closely, more intimately, until I was no longer able to pronounce a judgement.”

Winner: “Sing About Me I’m Dying of Thirst” by Daniel Ogba

First Runner-up: “A Feeling of No Name” by Chiamaka Ejiofor

Second Runner-up: “This Too Shall Pass” by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

Honourable mentions:

“Moments Before We Die” by Yvonne Nezianya

“May My Words Be Taken to You” by Sobur Adedokun

“Verses of Silence” by Timi Sanni      

 “Fluttering Hope” by Miracle Chidera Odigwe                                   

Congratulations to the winners!

We are grateful to our guest judges — Nome Emeka Patrick and Dr. Arthur Anyaduba — and everyone who sent in their work. Thanks to all our sponsors for their generous donations. 

Interviews with the contest winners will be published at a later date.

The maiden edition which held in 2017 was judged by Sueddie Vershima Agema (Flash Fiction) and Okwudili Nebeolisa (Poetry).

 

Isolation

Our third issue ever, "Isolation" is out. We had thought-provoking conversations with Alexis Teyie and Tobi Nifesi. It's a collection of works from some of the finest minds out there -- poetry, short stories, interviews, and creative essays.

Do you love our published works?

You can add your literary work to an endless list of poems, short stories, flash fiction, and essays.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

THIS TOO SHALL PASS by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

This Too Shall Pass – Second Runner-up of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Flash Fiction Category)

To Peter.

 

Your mother, a woman of greying skin and brittle bones told me that was your first name today. We were eating rice for the first time since your burial, watching as the sun fell into the horizon, and she turned and she said it. That name, a name that carried the mark of a saint, fell off her tongue and lay listless in the soft earth. She asked me if I knew. I told her I did not. That I called you Sir, Oga, Uncle. That I called you other things like Animal, Dog, and Beast. Any word that would strip away the humanity you loved to sheath yourself in, the humanity that you draped over your sins, claiming them to be errors that everyone made. I wanted to tell her that we did not have that sort of relationship between employer and employee, which would allow me knowledge of your name. Or even knowledge of you as a person. 

Not even on the nights that you’d slip into my room and demand perverse things that your wife sleeping upstairs would not do for you. I wanted to tell her these things, but I could not. 

So I let her eat in peace. 

To Peter

Your mother is virtue. 

This is something I have struggled to understand in my months living with her. She is a woman with many hearts, a woman of much love. I have been unable to explain your specific brand of horror, your callousness, and evil, by looking at your mother. In the months after you died, where I searched for someone to blame, I looked for ways to blame her. I looked for signs that perhaps she watered a particular demon in you, gave it the earth, and the fertilizer it needed to grow. But I found none. 

Your mother is virtue. 

It only makes me curse you more.

 

To Peter

I started living with your mother because, after the funeral, your wife and daughter moved far away. Your mother says they’re coming back, but I know better. I know how people run. I remember how your wife held your little daughter’s shoulders tightly, as sand was slowly heaped unto your casket. I remember how she cornered me later that night and asked me questions. Do I still want to go back to school? Do I know how to find my family? Her eyes lingered in spaces above my head, as though making eye contact would legitimize me as another person she had to worry about. I told her what she wanted to hear. I was fine. I would stay with your mother until I know how to fend for myself. I remember the mist in her eyes. She was just about to leave when she turned back and whispered, I’m sorry.

To Peter

 

I don’t remember how to get back home. Sometimes, I sit under the guava tree in your mother’s yard, and I try to draw maps in the earth that lead to home. Perhaps it is the fact that I’ve never owned anything, so where do I start understanding what it means to own a place. Or maybe it’s the fact that I was five when a tall man with a shadowed face took me away from where I might have called home and into another world. 

I do know that I’m not from here. 

I remember there was a language in my mouth that my tongue spent years breaking into pieces, just so I could understand when your wife told me to wash plates, sweep the yard, and clean the car. I have come to learn that I existed in your lives, as a result of compromise. Your wife wanted help in the house but didn’t want another woman in the house with her. It fascinates me that she was so aware of the type of person she married, that she went out of her way to choose a little foreign boy, hoping it would dissuade you. Sometimes, I think she knows it didn’t. But of course, we don’t speak of such things.

We don’t speak of the violence. The cracking of leather belt on supple skin. We don’t speak of the loneliness. The countless hours I spent staring into space. We don’t speak of the abuse. The insults. The fact that all I owned, all that felt familiar enough to call mine, was the pain.

Now that you’re dead, I don’t remember how to get home Peter. 

And now, as the pain slowly calcifies int

To Peter

Your mother’s favorite thing to say when confronted with suffering is this too shall pass. She said it again just this morning when we woke up to find the poultry farm raided and the chickens missing. 

She said it when, as we cleaned the living room, I finally told her about everything. She was silent for very long, her eyes watering her cheeks. I expected her to say it, to try to swallow up the confusion with a promise of things to get better. 

But she said nothing. And I said nothing. And we both cleaned the room, sweeping away the silence. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels

A FEELING WITH NO NAME by Chiamaka Ejiofor

A FEELING WITH NO NAME by Chiamaka Ejiofor

A FEELING OF NO NAME

by Chiamaka Ejiofor

A Feeling of No Name – First Runner-up of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Flash Fiction Category)

Maura sat in the therapist’s office that smelt of exhaust fumes and feminine cologne, and had the paint peeling off the walls like scabs falling off a dried-up wound. It made Maura think of healing. She looked out through the window, at the tarred road. The sun was high in the horizon, pouring down rays like streaks of pale fire, creating huge mirage pools on the tarred road. Pools of blood. Maura was sure. Her baby’s blood. 

“What a comfortable chair, isn’t it? To share uncomfortable problems” the therapist said, tittering, as though she was approaching a lunatic whose madness she knew was growing malignant. 

Maura smiled at the therapist who seemed to be hiding behind her large spectacles. Maura started to say something, but the sharp pain in her abdomen, just where her Caesarean section scar was, pressed her lips shut. She closed her eyes. She felt her head swoon. It was engulfing her, she knew, that feeling with no name, that feeling that catches her unaware, takes her in its palms and dips her into a pool of numbness. Like sleep paralysis. 

But this swoon, this feeling that makes her hands tremble, and her teeth clatter, until she bites her tongue, tasting blood; it did not start here. No. Not in the therapist office. Not on that tarred road with mirage pools of blood either. 

***

It started the day Maura turned eighteen. Maura, hot-blooded and a believer in anything with a romantic overtone. Marcel had told her on the eve of her birthday that Eighteen meant ripping oneself off the cloaks of childhood and painting adulthood on the canvass of one’s dream.

She lay on his bed, snuggled in his arms after they had eaten suya with cold Fanta at a local bar to celebrate her birthday. Her eyes following the haphazard dance of dust from where a thin beam sneaked in through the keyhole, as she listened to him saying how much he loved her, his eyes watery, and Maura thought of love as some kind of liquid emotions one could bottle up and place on shelves. As though Marcel saying “I will give you all my love” meant he had a shelf of these bottles and would anoint her with them, one after the other, until she felt a slippery ache in her groin. So when she felt that swoon, that numbness, creeping over her as he ripped her clothes off her lean body, she did not think of giving that feeling a name. 

She did not think of giving it a name also, a few weeks later when she realized that the smears of liquid love Marcel had anointed her with had coagulated into a budding being inside of her. 

She called his phone, her throat aching, a swirling sensation in her head, as though a turbine of regret was turning through her, to tell him that the pregnancy test strip had displayed the dreaded double line. But he called her stupid, his voice blending into the ache in her throat and the swirl in her head, that was when she felt that swoon engulf her again, with each of his words— Didn’t she take the morning-after pill? Didn’t she know he was a student and not ready to be a father? How was he even sure he was the one? Isn’t she a naive, cheap thing that never keeps her thigh shut, anyway?

That day, Maura realised that this liquid emotion called love that seeped from one lover’s genitals to the other, to soothe an aching groin, could also scald. Like water when it got heated up. 

And like water, love could also drown, when it flowed in torrents from the most ingenuine lips. Maura became sure of this when some days later, Marcel appeared outside her hostel gate and shoved a pill wrapped in too bright aluminum foil into her hands. It would be the last time she would ever see him.

At first, Maura was wary of taking the abortion pill. But she thought of the stigma of an unwanted, and worst of all, teenage pregnancy. Of her widowed mother breaking down in tears, lamenting how she had failed her, how she had come to the University to chase after things in trousers rather than chase after her studies. So she took it, praying the custodians of sins would forgive her.

Perhaps she was forgiven because after a week of cramping pain in her womb, the baby still nestled inside her. So Maura started to think of motherhood, to google topics that felt surreal to her. Pregnancy care. Labour. Breastfeeding. And later, she bought a book on single parenting.

The day her mother called, whining over the cracking telephone line, to disown her for bringing such shame, was the day Maura walked into a nearby hospital to register for antenatal care ignoring the sneer of the nurses who muttered malicious words about little girls who won’t keep their bodies holy. 

Maura planned her motherhood. She bought mosquito netting and shawl for the baby. She cut her old clothes and turned them into baby clothes.

After she put to bed, she would wake up early to feed and bathe her baby, before going to lectures with the baby strapped on her back. She would start a petty trade after classes and save enough to enroll him in a kindergarten when he turned two. 

But there were things Maura did not plan.

Things like giving birth through a Caesarean section, which was like wearing a permanent emblem of motherhood, tattooing her sacrifices for this baby on her skin.

Things like her mother forgiving her, the dimples on her mother’s cheeks sinking deep as she embraced the baby, saying “he is my husband come back. Eziokwum. He is your father come back, Maura”.

Things Like her baby dying, a few days after he turned one,after she had celebrated a little birthday party with the neighborhood children from the proceeds of her petty trade.

It happened on the day her baby, Obinneya, called her mamma.

That morning, after she had bathe him, and was kissing his wet, warm belly, making slurpy sounds with her lips that made him giggle, he called softly ‘mamma’.

So when later that afternoon she went to the market to get some goods for her petty trade, she got him a toy car, a gift for calling her the most fulfilling word, mamma. 

On her way back, the traffic was horrible. Cars blasting horns and drivers shouting impatiently at one another. Obinneya was whining. He was hungry. So she decided not to board a bus, and flagged down an okada that would take the one-way, to evade the traffic.

She did not see the trailer. She was sure the Okada man too did not, else he would have diverted into the pedestrian lane. It happened too quickly, that collision. All she heard was the screech of tyres and hoarse screams she later knew to be hers, and the feeling of being thrust in the air,then felt her back hit the tarred road with a thud. She did not notice the stickiness of blood on her forehead until she heard Obinneya’s voice, muffled, muttering from somewhere inside her, mamma, mamma. 

When she lifted herself up to look around for her baby, what she saw— a bloodied pulp distorted under the front tyre of the trailer— was not her baby. Her baby could not be that crushed figure with head split open under the tyre, and thick, cream-colored splatter of the brain splayed on the tarred road; and red, red fluid gathering into a pool and rolling lazily into the nearby gutter. That was not her Obinneya.

She pinched herself hoping to wake up. Yesterday, she had seen a spider crawling in her room, and had not killed it. Spider was an augury of bad dreams. This was a bad dream. But when she looked up at the sky and the blinding rays of the sun hit her, she knew it was not a dream. She had never seen the sky in her dreams. 

***

“Panic attack,” the therapist said as Maura opened her eyes. 

“What?”

“You’re having panic attack. What is your trauma?”

What I feel has no name. Maura wanted to say. But instead, she stood up and walked out of the therapist’s office.

Inside her, she could hear Obinneya calling, mamma. She started to walk, briskly, as if chasing the mirage pools that kept on moving further as she approached them. She kept on walking till the sun retired, stealing away the pools and replacing them with silhouettes of what Maura thought to be a toddler. She continued to walk into the darkness, ignoring the ache in her joints, chasing the silhouettes as she had chased the mirage pools.

Maybe it was a compass to direct her to wherever her child was. 

Maybe she would find Obinneya.

Photo Credit: Photo by João Paulo de Souza Oliveira from Pexels

SING ABOUT ME I’M DYING OF THIRST by Daniel Ogba

SING ABOUT ME I’M DYING OF THIRST by Daniel Ogba

young black man behind tree branches

SING ABOUT ME I’M DYING OF THIRST

by Daniel Ogba

Sing About Me I’m Dying of Thirst – Winner of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Flash Fiction Category)

Everybody for Odogwu lodge hear am that night…

*

Eduboy first came to my room one sunny Sunday afternoon, a wry smile tugging the corners of his lips. Him dey prepare correct jollof for him babe, come discover say him Maggi don finish. Abeg, if I didn’t mind, I fit run am one Knorr cube?

He scratched his head, one foot inside my room, the rest of his body outside. He wore black-and-white checkered banana republic boxer, nothing to cover his muscled chest and abs. His upper body glistened with sweat. Omo, I was tripping, no lies. Normally, I’d have stood up from the bed, walked into the small kitchen, grabbed one cube, and passed it to him. But, e be like say something possessed me; a whole Eduboy was at my door, asking for what? Ordinary Maggi? Of course, I didn’t mind. I told him to enter inside the kitchen and take it himself, top counter by the right. He smelt of smoke and spices, and it pleased me. He didn’t waste any time. Just walked in there and, before I knew it, out.

I’d never imagined Eduboy the kind to near a cooker, no. 1 fresh boy like him, so I jokingly said, “Lord knows how your food go taste.” It was the first I’d spoken to him officially, asides regular guy hwfar.

Eduboy chuckled, then, before he left, replied, “you go confirm na.”

I did confirm, at quarter past 5p.m., when someone rapped twice on my door, Eduboy. He came bearing a full-lipped smile, with a covered plate of jollof.

 

“Dude, thanks for saving my ass,” he said. “I owe you one.”

*

Everyone in the Art faculty knew him. The Eduboy, everyone called him, including lecturers. Especially lecturers.

The first time I saw him inside school was after GS class. One of his goons was celebrating. They all rounded the guy, stoned him sachet water. But something stood out. There was this particular guy in the circle who, out of nowhere, popped a bottle of Andre and wasted it on the celebrant’s head. The crowd crazed instantly. We were just walking outside the building, me and my guy, when he popped the second bottle. I tapped Alain and asked who the show-off-dude was.

“You no know am? Him dey our department na,” Alain said. “Eduboy na a veeery big guy.” With an emphasis on very.

I’d never seen him, not once, in any class gathering. It was during second year. I would see him a couple more times in lectures hanging from a window or sitting on the boulevard outside. And then he’d disappear. Within that time, I watched him with the interest of a scientist observing a species – the way he bounced, his feet lifting off the earth with each step, the way his trousers slouched a little below waistline, exposing sparkling white underwear. Where he regularly lunched (mostly 11:45 restaurant ), the boys he hung out with (people I’d not occasionally find myself in their company; dudes with serious levels), and babes that gyrated to his honeyed smoke aura.

Eduboy never wore a shirt twice to school, I confirmed. He didn’t even overdress, just moderate senior man attires. But his drip was on a steady. From Calvin Klein to Versace to Burberry to YSL, all his shirts repped this or that brand. He changed clothes like nylon. It was his kicks for me, though. There was one time in 300 level he wore this molo-molo black Air Max 720 to class, for mid-semester.

He arrived late for the quiz. The lecturer, a moronic man, ordered him to the podium, wanting to disgrace his ancestors. He had his hair tinted brown, so it gave the man ranting material. Lecturer called him nincompoop, imagine. Eduboy’s eyes darted like a hawk’s, I know he must have felt like slapping that man. I did, too. But I was focused on his kicks. When the lecturer shaa dismissed him, Eduboy walked straight to his seat, picked up his bag, and bounced. He didn’t return for that class. He didn’t write that course. Energy!

Later I’d googled Air Max 720 price; I was shook, to God. The amount tensioned me. Somebody wore forty-f**king-five thousand naira just on his legs, me what did I wear? Kito sandals. Even the Season 7 I owned was secondhand pass-down.

 

What did Eduboy do that I couldn’t? G+? Prostitution? Were his parents ritualist billionaires? Lord knows. Me, I just knew I wanted to be his paddy.

young black man behind tree branches

*

I didn’t know Eduboy was from Aba, till someone casually mentioned it during football training. It was my team against his, they were whooping our behinds like mad. There was this courting he gave me, and I just tumbled like a brakeless Volvo.

Someone said, “Onye egwu, nwayo, na your brother be that.” He looked back and smiled. After training, he walked to me, asked if I was really from Aba. I said yes. And Eduboy threw his hands up, pulled me into his chest, his Arsenal jersey drenched with sweat. He embraced me tightly, and called me nwanne.

Eduboy would call me his nwanne that day and other days, and a refreshing calm would set over me. Perhaps it was the lightness with which he said the word. Nwanne. A renewed assurance that I was his own blood, his person. That he wouldn’t do me anyhow. I believed him.

We got really close and shit. He’d crash in my bed, I in his. A bit out of context but, I discovered Eduboy couldn’t sleep without his lights on.

*

In his room one night, he dragged kush while I played PES. A Kendrick Lamar song vibrated the walls, his favourite jam. He passed the joint to me, eyes a wild red. I said, thanks but no thanks. He did not pressure.

Eduboy started rapping along with the music. He leaned in to me, his face covered in smoke clouds and half neon-blue light. He put a hand on my face, and recited along with a woman’s voice on the track, dragging the words out of his throat;

“Young man come talk to me… /Why are you so angry?/ See, you young man are dying of thirst/ Do you know what that means? That means you need water/ Holy water.”

I got the chills. He was obviously high, but with his hand pressing my face, I wanted more. Next thing, he was passed out on the bed.

That night in my room, I went online, downloaded the song, and played it till morning.

*

Forget all that fancy hard man stunts, na smokescreen. Truth be say, Eduboy was lonely and scared sh*tless. But this our world no get use for soft men, so he had to man up, had to don the mask and be ‘fine.’ That’s how the world expected you to be. Fine. He invented versions of himself for our sakes, and because he was in such a desperate race against time.

When I asked about family, Eduboy said he preferred to not talk about them. Later he told me. His mother finally died two months back. Not like she did live even. But before then, his father left them. Dude remarried to get his life going, he was a public figure.

He told me — and he did warn me not to tell anyone — what took his mother was coming for him next. And, although he didn’t know how long he had left to stay, he knew he wouldn’t ever face it like his mother had; wilting, powerless, annoying box-machines ever beeping, counting down till the very here moment. No. He had decided his fate in his head. It wasn’t a pleasant one, but there was no alternative. Eduboy cried like a child when he told me.

It was new, the Eduboy I experienced that day. I didn’t know how to relate, so I just held him and told him we’d get through together. Nwanne to nwanne.

*

You fit change a man’s heart. But his head? You can try, only there’s so little you can do. And Eduboy get coconut head. True true.

 

I was in my room when I heard it that night. A pop sound, like somebody dropped raw egg. I ran outside to the verandah, other tenants too. Someone pointed a flashlight from the fourth floor, where Eduboy’s room was, and we all saw it. Omo, I was too shocked, even though I knew somehow he’d do it. I didn’t know what or how to feel. I only felt my legs sinking deep into concrete. My heart slipped into my stomach.

The only thing I remember hearing, before the high-pitched ringing in my head, was a girl screaming from across, oh my God oh my God oh my God what the f*ck?

Photo Credit: Photo by Blac Bear from Pexels

IN THE NAME OF TRANSCENDENTALS by Ibe Obasiota Ben

IN THE NAME OF TRANSCENDENTALS by Ibe Obasiota Ben

black woman with a sad face

IN THE NAME OF TRANSCENDENTALS

by Amarachi Iwuafor

In the Name of Transcendentals – Second Runner-up of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

in faith i write that this poem is not a hangman

even though there are too many lifeless bodies here

even though this poem is a body in timeless regress–

fluid. formless. fragile.

 

i am still trying to understand metaphors 

just like i am still trying to understand my mother and her God–

hot and cold. mist and wine.

just like i am still searching for spaces 

where grief is not the aftermath of ghost

not the aftermath of war 

not the aftermath of home placed in fire

to negotiate the weight of tragedy.

 

all my life i have been searching the water

for things lost in the shoulder plate of home & grief. 

i do not know how to explain that loss is not the noun

it is the holocaust becoming fluid enough to shift form.

black woman with a sad face

every poem about grief is a dark room.

i have seen silhouettes bounce off walls at the reflection of light 

yet neither light nor miracle is panacea for grief.

i do not know at what point grief rankshifts into growth

but i know how much grief feels like passing through the water 

yet only a thing made hallowed can truly pass through water.

i know dead men who come alive in dreams

that is to say i want to believe 

death is really a form of transcendence

which is perhaps what it means to relive.

 

poems made of grief are the hardest to hold.

it’s easy to scream into the water

& pretend that you do not hear your own voice

& pretend also that silence is not a form of mockery. 

 

in war i write that this body has no agency to accept more grief

that is to say this body at another

prick will come apart like a balloon or a broken home.

i am several miles away from home

& the only relic i have is a whitening portrait of my father

falling away like an incomplete painting. 

home is this painting. a metaphor for the origin of passing.

do not try to disable metaphors like these

because the ground of the metaphor is hidden in grief and pain.

Photo Credit: Photo by Lucxama Sylvain from Pexels

SHE STARED BACK AT US WITH HER EYES CLOSED by Amarachi Iwuafor

SHE STARED BACK AT US WITH HER EYES CLOSED by Amarachi Iwuafor

burnt matchsticks

SHE STARED BACK AT US WITH HER EYES CLOSED

by Amarachi Iwuafor

She Stared Back at Us with Her Eyes Closed – First Runner-up of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

When death walked in, it took in its arms 

         one person, 

walking past the tunnels where light had 

         never touched.

Then it left two footprints. One, grief. The

         other, memories. I’ve felt pain, 

but grief is twice the weight of pain. Our 

palms have been stained by the colors 

         of it.

I touch the walls of my memories, 

        trying to remember 

the last time we held hands. I search for her 

        in photographs

burnt matchsticks

that once held the whole shape of her.

I heard she had wished to stay longer?

        How often we grope for life 

when we are close to death.

        But most times, the life 

we live is never ours, neither our choice.

         At night,

when the world is dark, fears burn into 

        the walls of my room, 

and in my room there are nightmares.

I keep dreaming into the places we 

        first met. 

I am lost most of the night.

But as time moves like waters across the 

        shore

I build solace in these words:

People don’t die, they only lose their 

       bodies.

Photo Credit: Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels

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