The Breadwinner

(For Ngcimezi)

By Zondiwe Mbano

On Juma, Friday, the day of worship
The muezzin calls from the minaret.

After worship, the faithful extend alms
To the poor: a pile of coins to pick from.

Shop after shop, barefoot, panting in the heat
Of October, for the baby on her back is heavy.

The baby strapped, except for withered legs,
Has heavy pectorals; and fully bearded, he

Booms to her ears: how she must walk,
Where she must go, what she must buy…

Now the sun points home, she adjusts him
And straps the day’s buy within his reach

For his restless hands solace themselves
Anywhere, anytime, within their locus.

Now trudging home, stops to greet someone
(For even a donkey acknowledges a friend):

A heavy slap from the right hand, she sees
Stars, totters; then the command: Forward!

She moves: slaps are a tonic for the family
And a man’s love is wrapped in jealousy.

But it was only Nagama, she later explains;
And the voice: What about that man with her?

Romantic exchanges to entertain themselves
For the long walk to their children, waiting.

The author, Bruce Zondiwe Mbano is a lecturer in the Department of Language and Communication Skills at Chancellor College. He has authored short-stories, plays and poems, some of which have been published in The Fate of Vultures(BBC prize-winning poetry), Heinneman and The Haunting Winds(published by Dzuka). His poem The Viphya won second prize in the 2000 Peer Gynt Literally Award. Mbano’s previous poems on Afreecan Read include Eyes of Age and Road to Emmaus.

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

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.