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.



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