I like to think I’d yet manage to weave words into poems by Chisom Okafor

make them start with moving backwards

into compressible fists of clouds:

For Aunt Mar’yam

(skip: of the sex scenes)

Mother appears now as before. She drags leukaemia like cigarette smoke

sleeps in the space between musical intermissions

Twice weekly

but the second time does not count: first foot gets to God first

as always, (as she just said).

And again I’m a child,

must rise at first light, to a fatherless daybreak and food the colour of mascara

And become cancerous too, pre­­surgical, etherized on the living­­room­­couch.

We let our faith hide within little things, the sheik whined into a mic,

down town, years before, in­­between exorcisms,

for this is where God hides to keep watch

and absolve sins in his own name, or make them

cheaply, as sculpting life into an angel of death ­ ­

from nothingness ­­

but you see, nothing isn’t having no drinks to get drunk on

doing nothing is to unlearn silence, again to wash yourself clean, as vaginal walls

after an x­­raying aunt has whispered between probes,

‘your pen­­is(n’t) just a tender skin­fold,

you’re a symphony of muezzins, you sound the adhan at a masjid,

five­­hourly, you  invite me to worship’

repeat  my pen­­is(n’t) the point

(cut and paste: how to catch a fleeing innocence)

we pretend she never came, by the way

you see, nothing counts after first foot.

I eat her through next week, with salt for taste.





Chisom Okafor temporarily lives and writes in Lagos, Nigeria. He is currently working on his debut chapbook. His works have been published or are forthcoming in various literary forums.

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