―after reading Rasaq Here you become afraid of the radios & televisions. You do not want to be swallowed by their voices. You do not want to be held by names dropping from their bellies. Hauwa, she grew a garden, and harvested blasted bones. Abiodun, she went to the market and her breath faded in the smoke. Onyejeno, he saw a friend off near Okpokwu and was burned alive. Sochimma, she held a school of flowers and was pulsed through knives. Ehi’zogie, his brother’s body was placed into a lighted tire for kissing a boy. Ebuka, Olisa’s friend, drowned with the mangled bodies sprouting at his backyard. Onoriode, she admired the moon and was nailed down into a burlap for godheads. Odimegwu, he stepped out for a stroll and caught a halo of blood around his neck. There are many strings around here. So many winding roads; so many broken things.
Here, manifestoes have no eyes or ears, and no pleasure and dreams they claim. My father, his mouth opens the loudest at 9: for fucksake, just imagine! My mother dives for our ears, she doesn’t want us to overhear, fucking thieves! they hold elections with armed forces and fight terrorism with prayers. Last week, a man left a house and vanished at the waterfront. The week before last week, a village was razed down by bright edges of machetes, and Ak-47s. Say this is what you get for living in this place, for walking a country. Here, you become afraid of everything every day.
Yet, every night I burn incenses before sleep, hoping that each dawn will someday bring a new smile here: where people will grow to age; where people can stay and fit in; where love will flower and bloom and where peace and unity will grow for people in here to stay as one.
CHINUA EZENWA-OHAETO is a multiple award winning Nigerian writer from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state. He has won the Association of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009; Speak to the Heart Inc. Poetry Competition, 2016. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018 which took him to Italy. He is the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to MFA Program. Some of his works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Raffish Magazine, Kalahari Review, Palette, Knicknackery, Praxismagazine, Bakwa Magazine, Strange Horizons, One, Ake Review and Crannòg magazine.