WHAT WE CARRY HOME by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

WHAT WE CARRY HOME by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

grayscale photography of woman

What We Carry Home

by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

I’ve been here for far too long,

I feel my body steeling into the soil,


making roots. Nothing grows beneath

my feet, or close to it, or along


this pathway where I sit to number

my children every day. I’m not afraid,


I swear, I just worry too much about

what we carry home whenever we


collide. My son is 6 and rocket-shaped,

a wild thing. Now and again, I nail


him to the wall, pray his body into

his room. I say, you must learn to sit 


in the house long enough until this flood

sun-dries. Each time a country drowns 


in the News, I memorize half the figures

that try to wash our faces down 


the drains. My daughter thinks we’ve 

overstayed the holiday. She rearranges 


her body on the couch, asks me to map 

out all of the spots where her shadow 


begins to rot. I decline, basin her on my

laps and smuggle her into safety.


There is nothing else to save from the

flood except this poem. Except you.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


CHIWENITE ONYEKWELU’S works have been published or are forthcoming on America Media, Brittle Paper, Kreative Diadem, ZenPens and elsewhere. He was a runner up for the Foley Poetry Contest 2020, a finalist for Stephen A. Dibiase Poetry Contest 2020 and winner of the Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize 2019 for his poem “The Origin of Wings”. He was also shortlisted for the Kreative Diadem Annual Writing Contest 2019 and was the 2nd prize winner of the Newman Writing Contest (NMWC) 2017. Chiwenite studies pharmacy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SUMMER by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SUMMER by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

Sunglasses in beach sand

Tell the Truth about the Summer

by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

how you find the soil of your joy

then the ceiling. the sweat.

the unmuted sadness.

the unspooled self.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


TIWALADEOLUWA ADEKUNLE is a writer and a 2nd-year doctoral student at Purdue University. Her creative writing appears or is forthcoming in Breakwater Review, 20.35 Africa, Indiana Review and 2017 Best “New” African Poets anthology, among others. She was selected as a scholarship recipient for the New York State Summer Writers Institute, and was honored to win the Flo Gault student poetry prize. Tiwaladeoluwa is also a founding member and facilitator of Rari, a Pan-African initiative for emerging poets. She was born in southwestern Nigeria.



A man with his eyes closed

Cento for Loneliness

by Wale Ayinla

A sound was wound in my head.

Yes, I know words call things into being–

claw at the bight’s grain.

It is unlikely that we are the only ones in this universe.

I don’t think I’ve ever written the word hope, 

but nothing else fits in here. 

I have been so careless with the words I already have.

Anything can be made into a cage.

We crack the egg, and the weak animal comes out wanting.

Hello, I’m here, I say. Get over it, they say.

God, I say. And it stays that way: no answer.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


WALE AYINLA is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and editor. He is a Best of the Net Award and Best New Poets Award nominee, and his works appear or are forthcoming on Palette Poetry, Connotations Press, Waccamaw, Glass Poetry, Existere and elsewhere. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter. He is the founding editor of Dwarts Magazine.

THE SOLITUDE OF NIGHTS by Chiedozie Kelechi

THE SOLITUDE OF NIGHTS by Chiedozie Kelechi

cold dark eerie environment


by Chiedozie Kelechi

my days are a calendar of wants.

i want you beside me.

i want to run my fingers through your small black hair.

the rains are falling on the aluminum roof, and petrichor smells of bright things.

i want to know the fulfillment of flowers at the touch of water.

i want your velvet hands on my chin,

feline eyes staring into nothing.

i want to roll the cities between us 

and make them into a small bed to lie with you.

i want to wake up breathing with you at the edge of the map,

to move in you the way a tongue moves in a mouth,

like a shadow moves in light

for there is nothing beautiful here, in this darkness.

nothing in this blue room, now silent without your wings.

i recite age-long prayers for the safekeep of your lungs.

christ must come now, and his redemption must begin with me in your arms.

these nails are heavy, and my thorns are thick with longing,

the cross wet with desire.

sum this need, subtract scarcity and i am a plague’s cost.

late last night, my body made this scene: you playing the guitar with no gloves on,

your tender skin gleaming under the pale moon,

your reflection, a mist, alone on the river.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


CHIEDOZIE KELECHI DANJUMA is an essayist, poet and lawyer currently residing in Yola. His poems have appeared on Kalahari Review, Boom, Praxis Magazine. He has a forthcoming chapbook titled “If I Could Write in Water.” He tweets at: kelechi_dozie and can be reached via chiedozieogbu@gmail.com

ELEGY FOR THE FIG TREE by Agbaakin O-Jeremiah

ELEGY FOR THE FIG TREE by Agbaakin O-Jeremiah

Fig tree

Elegy for the fig tree

by Agbaakin O-Jeremiah

but what business do i have   with the living?

we all become slaves   to memories & chains

remain only to be broken. broken by songs,

a figment plucked from the son’s imagination

of sweetness. or at worst, a quenching. verily,

i have never vanquished loneliness. i tremble

at a body in the white shroud, then lowered in

a slow crater made by hands falling & rising.

iyanju  l’agbe n gbin— we sow a seed for this

soil to ponder on.  i feel kin with what’s other

than me. the paw that holds the claws like key

teething into the unknown animal of my body.

why shouldn’t i trust the dark? the unripe fig.

i fear for the obstinately unripe plantain, for

the life it so much guards against a keen knife

& a pot of boiling water & the net of a grill in

the backyard.  but the rot has come to stay. its

blackening peel burnt into potash & camwood

for a lather cleansing us & all our dead. verily,

i’ll bring a dove into my house but let the owl

starve outside. verily, i fear to touch the dead

cock more than a maternal hen gathering her

children in her wings, & the rest in the shadows

of those leavened wings. her eyes red with love

or fear. i love my fears, for they wait to soften

at my embrace. i fear my love will turn sour in

a mouth like a sponge of water turning sour in

a forsaken mouth, after the honey of mere words

& our sweet kiss. what always lingers is the curse.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


O-JEREMIAH AGBAAKIN holds an LL. B degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems are recently published or forthcoming in Palette, Poet Lore, Guernica, Pleiades, North Dakota Quarterly, RATTLE, among others. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and his manuscript placed finalist for the 2020 Sillerman FirstBook Prize for African Poets. He has served as editor/reader for Africa in Dialogue, PANK and Jalada Africa.



a journal and pens

dear diary is the Saddest Thing You Will Write on a Long Quiet Night

by Anthony Okpunor

these days i dine alone. the world

is at the other side, staring through a

wet window. somewhere between we

still do not meet, but for poems.

but for birds that fly into your throat 

when you fall asleep. 

i wrote all of those poems

& made them fly. 

because i’m here, and i want 

to wish you one of

these lone stars. 

the stenographer wrote your

name on the cover page of his

diary, we almost missed it. 

that day all we needed was 

someone to push us into the wind, 

& call us freedom. 

see how glass doors make us

write these sad poems? 

see how rain comes & knows

the softest part of two bodies? 

the rain will remind us of days

& slow dances, how to move lightning 

from a lover’s eyes to their tongue.

today i’m awake and something seams

a rising sun to my window. 

i am sorry we all

die sometime.

let’s make a map of thirst & young. 

let’s see where we stop being thirteen. 

let us tune this body out &

feel the whole world

break free for us. 

the signs will only come for the 

flesh, not us. 

let’s sow our knees

to the hands of a clock. 

why do we only laugh sometimes? 

have you asked why a 

clown will choose your happiness

over theirs?

i want to be a clown &

eat up the butter in your hair. 

call me names, dreams

you try to imagine,

i promise to know you

final notes of the song. 

i will hear of birds hours after

you sing the walls to sleep. 

we can be voyagers, you see. 

i will keep throwing 

stones into a river till

i’m old. 

this way there is a castle

at the bottom of 

the ocean for us. 

there will be sand, salt

and hunger; you being

a soloist filled with 

names of [   ].

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)

dear diary is the Saddest Thing You Will Write on a Long Quiet Night

by Anthony Okpunor | POEMS


ANTHONY OKPUNOR is an emerging Nigerian writer who discovered poetry and writing in general, as a better form of self-expression. He lives and writes from Asaba in Delta State. He is a student of the University of Benin at the time. He was shortlisted for the 2019 Nigerian Student Poetry Prize. He was also shortlisted for the SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize 2019. He emerged as winner of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (poetry category). He was a finalist for the 2020 Palette Spotlight Poetry Award. His works have appeared on online platforms including African Writer, Praxis Magazine and Rattle.

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