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Our hearts by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto | November 12th, 2017 | poetry | No Comments

Poem

It was like this on the day before this day:
we peered ourselves in the faces as we sat
and spoke of little things of many things
and spoke of many things of little things.
We spoke Sochimma— the last of our spoke-ings.
We spoke her longest.

You knew how it felt when you dived into a known river,
maybe Njaaba, maybe Mississippi, maybe-maybe Iyiocha,
and took in its embrace and warmth, then told everyone
in the face how good-fast or good-slow you swam; so did we.

Sochimma’s nipples are pyramids pushing and tipping
through her *akwa alluring men to worship, we spoke.
Her hips curve in pair of meniscuses like a sculptor’s curlicues
in all her *afe: an envy to all-alike peeking eyes and
a hell burn in hell desires for men, we spoke on.

Sochimma’s mother had long forgotten the name she birthed her
and might not remember she corded out of her womb.
We spoke of the day Sochimma’s mother looked
Sochimma deep in the face (very deep like one whose sins
would never be forgiven) for probing men’s trousers and legs.
This scorched Sochimma’s eyes and spread her legs wide apart as
she called her mother to dip her fingers and cure her curiosity.

We passed our spoke-ings from mouth to mouth.

Those of us with little or many or too many openings
spoke with our teeth sunk into the gums.
And our lips bent like the edges of a mallet.
We looked at ourselves too slow or too fast and
hid every bit of contentiousness beneath our skins
whilst our beads, necklaces, and rings shone and blinded us,
counted up our soured prayers like the devil not tired of sin.

We spoke Sochimma— the last of our spoke-ings, the longest.
You knew how it felt when you dived into a known river.
There, we washed and dumped our guilt and forgot them all.

*Akwa, Efe are Igbo names for cloth.
*Njaaba, Iyiocha are rivers in the eastern part of Nigeria.

Poet Bio

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is a Nigerian and studied English Language and Literature at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. He is a lover of literature and his works have won Association Of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award For Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009; National Association Of Students Of English Language and Literary Studies (Certificate of Honour as the Best Student Poet, 2012, Delsu Chapter). He was a runner-up in Etisalat Prize For Literature, Flash fiction, 2014 with I Saved My Marriage; and the winner of Speak to the heart inc. Poetry contest, 2016. He also has contributed his works in journals, magazines and blogs such as Of Minstrelsy and Mask,Matatu, Germany; Awka Journal Of English Language and Literature; Lunaris Review, AFREADA, KALAHARI REVIEW and elsewhere.

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