Iska  

Darkness used to be cold, but now warmth is all I feel 

In this enclosed shell of mine. 

 

Madness used to drive me on, but now calmness is all I feel 

I think it’s a sign, I might go, soon. 

 

I was used to asking the color of the sky, but now I don’t 

They never tell me the truth, the sighted ones. 

They tell me it is the color of my palm, 

I only had to lick it to know; I never did.  

 

Eloka used to touch my belly button when I cried, but now he doesn’t. 

Maybe because I’m all grown up, 

Maybe because I try to feel his too, down to the snaky feel of his third arm, 

Below. 

 

Chika told me I was too curious for a blind girl; I am. 

He never did teach me not to love his voice when he spoke of the udala tree 

Or the little icheku branches he brought me when the smell of dust and water 

Fused in my nostrils, when he spoke of the village maidens bathing in the Atakpo River 

 

Adanne was the only different one; she taught me all I know 

She told me the color of the sky was the feeling I get when my fingers 

Run into the deep, where my two legs meet. 

When I fall into the trance only she can wake me from. 

 

She taught me the voices of the village maidens playing under the Ube tree 

Were that of mad women and I shouldn’t run towards it 

“Away child, away” she would say. 

“Your stubborn head would break from the stupid noise” 

 

But now, I can’t find them; Adanne, Chika, Eloka. I’m lost 

The trees deep in the forest keep calling my name but I have been told not to answer 

They just might be spirits calling for the souls of the ogbanje children. 

But I am one, known by many names 

Ijeoma, Kaonyegwachie 

Mmiri-ife, Anyanwu-ututu 

Iska-end

 

Read Also:  Ijeoma 

My Father’s Children

My father’s children were fools, 

The spectacle of my village people. 

We danced naked under the first rains 

Savoring the sweet smell of the cloud’s tears 

On the dry parched skin of the village floor. 

 

Our little feet stomped on the muddy ground 

With reckless abandon. 

We laughed as the soft water rained 

Down our little throats 

As we swallowed the cloud’s salt-free tears 

 

My father’s children were fools, 

The talk of the village people. 

The village market day would see us marching 

With skimpy hand-me-down clothes to the market 

Throwing stones because Mama wasn’t there 

She was resting 

Six-feet silent 

end

 

Read Also:  Maurice

Pen to Paper 

 

Pen to paper, I’ve lost the words 

To tell 

To say 

To describe 

This abstract feeling that comes  

When I know that I really don’t 

Know anything at all; 

When I look at beauty and all I see 

Is sadness. 

When I look at the mirror and see 

Blankness 

Void 

Emptiness 

Catastrophe 

Gloom 

 

It’s hard to stare at the ocean 

And not want to feel the sweet saltiness 

On your less sable skin. 

It makes you think of many things, 

Melted ice-cream on your dry lips, 

The taste of snowflakes on your warm black tongue, 

The drowned children in the village stream, 

The barren guava tree swaying in the wind, 

Death 

Pleasure 

Coital bliss 

Magic 

God 

The afterlife. 

 

And then, you slowly let yourself go 

Down 

Down 

Down 

Till your feet the ocean floor meets 

Till your breath the heavy waters cease 

Till your body takes no more 

Then slowly brings your spirit 

To the Creator’s door. 

 

Pen to paper 

I feel it again; that urge to drift 

The urge to let go even though I know I’m not capable 

Of letting go. 

So I put my pen to paper, my mind to concentration 

And I write these colored feeling 

Black-blankness and space 

Red-love and revolt 

White-peace and regret 

Green-life and death 

Blue? 

Pen to paper 

I hope I have found solace 

In this blue ink. 

 end…

 

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