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EVERY DAY I watch them walk back home

wet with the smell of the market,

trays balanced on their heads.

It will rain. It will not. The truth is here:

nothing prepared us for the moment when

their bones shivered like lovers ready to part from each other.

By the door they peel off their dirty skins

and compare history and money.

In another room in this house filled with rooms,

another woman walks into the arms of ten children;

we will hear the sound of hunger in the music of tongues.

Until you are there you will never know how the ground breaks bones,

how bodies search for seeds only to find the ground mocking them.

Mother will gather us into her bosom and tell my sister to bring down

the tray, from it she will take the bread and say, this is my body, Eat,

she will pass the cup and say, Drink of me and be filled.

At night when the stars are singing of paradise,

we will lie still and listen to her cry in the dark.


Romeo Oriogun’s “No 4. Marina Street” first appeared in the Art Naija Series anthology, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations, edited by Otosirieze Obi-Young and introduced by Rotimi Babatunde.



ROMEO ORIOGUN is the 2017 winner of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. His manuscript, My Body Is No Miracle, was a finalist for the 2018 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. His chapbook, The Origin of Butterflies, was published in 2018 by Akashic Books and African Poetry Book Fund. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Brittle Paper, ExpoundLAMBDA, Afridiaspora, and African Writer, among others. He is the author of Burnt Men, an electronic chapbook published by Praxis Magazine Online, and was a Fellow of Ebedi International Writers Residency.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at

2 Responses to “No 4. Marina Street | Romeo Oriogun | Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Sochi 2018/07/31 at 03:44 #

    I enjoyed this immensely.

  2. Akuma James 2018/08/19 at 13:33 #


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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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