Three Poems

Ebele Mọgọ

Ala Agwu
ndi igbo believe agwu
the alusi of healing
may first drive the healer mad

ask Jesus, disappearing
into the wilderness like that

but if he speaks in parables
then ask his cousin John—

what was it that haunted him so
driving him into desolate places?

now you understand
Frankenstein don’t you?
freedom can be monstrous

you know, don’t you?
you who carry oceans,
that “terrific” and “terrify”
are of one mother

that when the offering is ready
you too must become splintered

there’s no running from that
dear child

but what did you expect?
to go into labour
and go on like nothing happened?

no, you’ll walk funny
till you learn to carry her
till she is seated well
within you

Dem Say Dem Say

Dem talk say dem send Akaraka to abroad
make im go school
E kon carry dis big tattoo come back
E talk say na for Egypt dem draw am
Come carry afro wey big like Soyinka
Come dey wear big eye glass
wey dem use ankara design for im eye
E carry am dey read Chimamanda
My guy no dey arrange imself again o
Na so so scatter scatter e dey
Dey resemble all dis rich pipu
wey u go no say na awoof, no be poverty
dey make may dem look one kain
Na so so over sabi e dey o
as if say we wey dey here no sabi any tin again
Hmm . . . if you see as everybody dey cut eye for am ehn
Useless pesin wey think say im eye don open
Because say e dey follow all these oyimbo
dey wear dashiki


Cockroaches die hard
A slap of the slipper
A broken foot
Jịrị azịza pịtọkwa ya
Yet it will find a way to survive
To crawl away injured
To fly into your face
Unless you flush it
Etu anwa, ma ọ dịrị ndu ma ọ dịrọ ndu
Mmịrị ga-ebulu ya
I’m flushing you
Down the drain my dear
A na m eji mmịrị akwapụ gị
A na m eme ka ife jịkọ mụ na gị na n’ịyị
I am letting it die