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)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

CENTO FOR LONELINESS by Wale Ayinla

CENTO FOR LONELINESS by Wale Ayinla

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)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

ONCE THIS IS OVER by Seun Lari-Williams

ONCE THIS IS OVER by Seun Lari-Williams

photo of sunflower

Once This Is Over

by Seun Lari-Williams

Once this is over,

I shall run into the arms of each morning

and take in the deepest breath.

My eyes will make friends with birds and flowers

and cars and buildings and clothes.

I will fill my nostrils with the boisterous

smell of bread from the bakeries

in Bavaria.

My teeth will shine brightly at everyone

who looks my way.

I will wave frantically at strangers.

I will give the warmest handshake anyone

has ever known.

My skin will hug the rays of the sun.

When the cold winds come,

it will not complain.

I will dance Bata with the rain. 

I will make the night sky my ceiling

and swim with the moon and the stars.

Once the iron gates are open,

Once these walls are broken,

I will be free again.

I will walk the streets like a

proud king.

 Once this is over,

You will see a new me.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SEUN LARI-WILLIAMS was born in Lagos on 28th April 1987. He is a lawyer, poet, and flutist. His first anthology – Garri for Breakfast, was longlisted for the 2017 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature. His poem, ‘A Little Violence’, won the second prize in the 2019 Guardian Newspaper Poetry Competition. He is married to his best friend, Feyi and they reside in Munich, Germany where he is a DAAD Scholar for a masters’ degree in intellectual property law.

I KNOW by Bayowa Ayomide

I KNOW by Bayowa Ayomide

grayscale photography of woman s face

I KNOW

by Bayowa Ayomide

If you ask me, I may know why the caged bird cries.

I used to think of deserted water as the loneliest,

then I realized the sun’s the creepiest.

It peeps from the sea’s blanket with its hands within,

looks around, and reptiles far away into the sky, quickly.

The earth is now spiral, like a snake chasing its tail.

I know because time is the only thing moving.

‘i’ is a candle with an invisible wick, burning dots upon itself.

Walls do not send fire upon a matchstick

scrubbing its forehead against their bricks,

because I think I smell the kerosene of

the third world war‘ like ‘Christ is coming soon.

I was hypnotized; my beak does not fit in the cages’ iron.

There are voices hidden in these walls;

I hear cries and giggles that are not my own.

Something, someone, somebody farts in the air;

We, us, our soldiers are fighting unsure wars.

The clink-clank milk squeezing out brown, black tea

is an outbreak hitting my head, skull split, rebellious soldiers?

I know I have sinned.

I know Isolation is idolatry—

worshipping the deity of separateness and loneliness.

I know because the wind is the only thing outdoor to stir the children’s swing.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BAYOWA AYOMIDE is a Nigerian-Canadian poet, filmmaker, actor, and cinematographer. He transferred from the University of Ibadan to complete his B.A in Theatre and Drama Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto, Canada. He was a long-list of the Nigerian Students Poetry Award 2018, shortlist of the 2018 Eriata Oribabhor’s Poetry Contest, the runner up of the 2020 On-Spot Poetry Writing Contest, a shortlist of 2018 and 2019 Christopher Okigbo Interuniversity Poetry Prize. His works have appeared on Praxis-magazine online, Africanwriter, Afas Review 2018, The Medium- University of Toronto’s Campus Newspaper and BPPC. He is the author of the chapbook, ‘Stream of Tongues, Watercourse of Voices.’ He believes so much in the nightly prophecies of the crickets behind his window.

ARTEMIS by Seun Lari-Williams

ARTEMIS by Seun Lari-Williams

shallow focus photography of brown globe

Artemis

by Seun Lari-Williams

The world has stopped for you.

It holds its breath in fear of you.

Centuries-old traditions abandoned overnight

like they were nothing —

for you.

Terrorism, trade wars —

put away in boxes

for the one who truly unites.

Hear your name on the lips of babies.

Hear the silence on the streets.

Their schools are empty; their cemeteries, full;

Holy grounds, deserted for you.

Airplanes, hung away like clothes;

Homes turned into prisons for you.

 

All walls lie flat at your feet.

The prize is won, Great Queen.

Your lessons have been learned and

etched on their hearts.

Rest now, Artemis,

Please rest.

Stretch your wings and fly back to your

sweet, feathered nest.

And let the world breathe

again.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SEUN LARI-WILLIAMS was born in Lagos on 28th April 1987. He is a lawyer, poet, and flutist. His first anthology – Garri for Breakfast, was longlisted for the 2017 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature. His poem, ‘A Little Violence’, won the second prize in the 2019 Guardian Newspaper Poetry Competition. He is married to his best friend, Feyi and they reside in Munich, Germany where he is a DAAD Scholar for a masters’ degree in intellectual property law.

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