Tale

By Iliya Kambai Denis

I send my fears to
Trek to a land of doom
And ignited my patience
To establish herself, boom!
Faith, she published…
And gave my effort a crown
And send my plight
Into the countenance of
The rich.
Like photons I possessed
Momentum without a mass
Enormous energy is what
I posses even when
I take the weight off my feet
In perpetual solace.
The dust of my feet
Is comparable to the
Fragrance of a majestic foot
Why???
Personality of mine is at
The equinox of the sun,
Blessed with…peace.
Owls of day light now
Striking the anger of the sun.
Now hear my dreams;
With this palatable rebels,
The sky won’t be blue again
The sun and the moon…
Won’t travel the same path
Stars will betray their oath
And the night won’t have
The celestial bodies to
Beautify her ugliness.

Iliya Kambai Dennis hails from Kaduna state, Nigeria. He is a physics student at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto,Nigeria. He loves writing, especially poetry. Several of his poems can be found on African Read.

To want to die

by Chisom Okafor

is to let your feet stiffen into a pillar of salt,
to let them be torn apart, in
a room full of dehydrated men, pilgrims
advancing by faith, each seeking your temple key
each seeking kind admittance
each supplicant crooning passwords. Calling out.
Come, salt of the earth.
Open, sesame.

To want to run away from your own skin
is to let your body become a community of stories
your eyes, an over-flooded island
your mouth, the gates of a graveyard
your nose, a flute, piping soulful tones, dirge after dirge.
Your tongue, a beggar-girl’s bowl, forbidden
to reveal its face, overclouded by acne.
Your skin- a pleasant ripeness-
a burnt offering for men.
You want to cross those aching legs
you long for a brassier, but your nipples burn with sucking.

At a high school in the far North, a debate instructor points a chalk to
inscriptions on a blackboard and says,
you’ve got vagina, convince men,
get the things you want with the platinum tucked
within the folds of your other lips,
with the pearl inserted at the meetings of your thighs.

Which means to die is to want to soften your heart into
splattering under intense illumination.
Which means to die is to be birthed
with a stone stuck in your pudenda,
which means to want to down an overdose of pills is to
metamorphose into a dune
(or a bride awaiting child-marriage)
and lose yourself
to the sand storm, let it dictate your fortunes
let a windstorm whisper to your ear:
C’est fini! C’est fini!

Chisom Okafor studied Nutrition and Dietetics at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in various literary outlets. Read Chisom’s previous poem on Afreecan Read, My Sister’s Prayer

My sister’s prayers

(after Derek Walcott’s ‘Love After Love’)

by Chisom Okafor

I sometimes walk with Halima to a building where her pelvis is a bow
and her legs draw whirlwind-circles on the roofing.
I point out how badly her track suit needs stitching
she smiles, pretends not to hear

like when she prays
and her words come differently,
whispering to her beads at sunrise
then counting off,
on her fingers, reciting from her ‘Resolutions List’.
Insha Allah….

She would not face Mecca
her cheating lover was there, at Jamarat 

instead, she says, mould your faith into a mackerel,
let it set sail, deep into little waters,
re-make faith from minuscule details
and that’s to say,
send what remains of your heart, like scaffolding to the heavens
shrapnel after shrapnel, slowly-
mating snails don’t hasten.

He thinks you’re a tumor, you send painful
spams down his testicles,
he calls you cancer, painful from over-growth, but
you build your faith from him, from those.
A groan. A sigh. A twitch of eyelids.
A wave of the hand.
Make music with the strings on his tongue.
When they cluck at you, recite a line (or two) from Beethoven
or Johnny Cash, when you have too much black.
You are a sunflower bursting buds.
You have agency, too.
A wellspring, well-hidden from sight.

Chisom Okafor studied Nutrition and Dietetics at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in various literary outlets.

My Sinful Nature

by Iliya Kambai Dennis

Sin is relativistic to faithfulness,
Little wonder, this garment of mine,
Travels to and fro
Regardless of the tura that binds
My desire into doing his will.
Whose kingship isn’t for the world
But is found in the world.

Sin without the course of remorse,
Temptation is a virtue.
Contradictions in the vague;
Pacing and racing the meaning
Of serving a true eternal crown.
Even though I dine with compromise,
My root has not left my
Non chalant attitude towards
Worships.

This is my sinful nature!
Give me a majestic crown,
I will turn my crown to thorn
Give me heaven and all in it.

I will take it but prefer earth,
Give me salvation, redemption,
I will opt for condemnation
This is my sinful nature!
Time does not alert me to pray,
Time alert me stray away.

My sinful nature course me this;
To ask what I have been given,
To seek what is at my disposal,
To knock when heaven’s gate is open,
To make my sins sweet.
Give me honey and honey-comb,
Still I will be horny.

Oh! Sweet bitter sin,
Flee from me and give me
Glee of redemption in full.
Without contradiction,
Clutch not my globe, blah!
This globe of compromise,
Kill her with the dagger
Nay, my faith can’t be faithless.

Iliya Kambai Dennis hails from Kaduna state, Nigeria. He is a physics student at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria. He loves writing, especially poetry.