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For the souls in Nsukka.


sometimes, you wonder what spirit
plucks you, feather after feather
revealing your mind as blotched flesh

as whirlwind
it lays bare your earth
and you wonder what spirit claims
— soul-body-mind
all at once, calling you its own, shutting you out of yourself
leaving you grasping for anything familiar
for the name you once were called
beneath a pile of dirt and flies

madness is rain that refuses to stop
voice calling you over and over in a deluge
to run the open roads as flood
where wraiths and debris are company
leaving behind you broken pieces of normalcy
and what your mind once was

you begin to look for shelter, away from the downpour
for the mouth that calls you
so it can take you in and give you peace
but some riddles cannot be untied
so, you beat about the bush — all bushes
searching for answers
to questions someone said they never asked you

who asked you?

sometimes, you do not know
you become a mask of vacant expressions
something covered in red dust as some forgotten relic
buried in time with ancient worth

aren’t you forgotten?

everything you hold tells you no one should walk the earth alone
they tell you many things like the rain
but all you have is a pile of rubbish and memories
buried deep in the denial of men
all you have become is a story of how fate works
how life loosens its thread and you become tangled and lost
so you are only thought of in rumors, hands on waist and clapped palms
how everything forgets you
except the voices that walk with you
except the road which is now home




Post image by Kristof Magyar via Flickr.

About the Author:

IMG_20160730_113542Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye spends her time enjoying silence and working on her relationship with Nsukka.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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