Going Home

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 70th birthday.

10-26 Acholonu
Catherine Obianuju Acholonu
Nigerian
1951 – 2013

 

I

Our hands grope in vain
the springs have dried up
leaving us with
salt water
and we remember
the days
when the hooting of the owl
sanctified our mortality

we stand paralyzed
like skeletons
mounted
on the sandy soil
struggling against
the dry wind
blowing sand into our eyes
which have since ceased to see

footprints of blessed ages past
deeply backed on to the soil
show the way to the horizon
and beyond
but we cannot reach it
you and I

our kisses bite
like grains of sand in the eye
then our bodies touch
like two scaly fish
we stand paralyzed
like two accursed.

II

We plunge ourselves
into the abyss
mindless of the outcome
our blind eyes
surveying the darkness
and in the labyrinths
we grope and sniff
for signs of our
brothers
in the catacombs
at the gate
we present our printed
tickets
decaying lips
toothless gums
cracking laughter

shameless folk
that seek entrance
into the land of their fathers
you cannot partake
of the coummunion
without you ofo
without your chi

and we are back
at the cross-roads
dreading once more
to cross the horizon
having she our outer shell.

III

Contact telegraphic
our sons speak
a foreign language
devoid of feeling
devoid of meaning

what choice have we
but to take refuge
in obganje
passing excrement
into the mouths
of our daughters
our ever mourning mothers

home again and yet
homeless
a dreary failure
for a nameless folk.

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