Home By Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto


―for places struggling

A home is a place that knows the geometry of your body.
A home is a place where your heart yearns to return.
A home is like a child on whose fingers you find flowery dimples.
A home is never a city where fire grows for all things to die.

But my own home is a different home:
My home is a place where dead bodies grow,
Where houses and schools are brought down and left in ruins,
Where children play in their dreams as playgrounds are turned graveyards,
Where brothers carry dirges in their mouths and sing them like anthems,
Where sisters count on their fingers the darkness that adorns their smiles,
Where mothers are scared to birth, nurse and care or even speak,
And where fathers are too afraid to love, too afraid to live and drink.
My home is a place marked by destruction
Where bombs and shrapnel make themselves an abode.
My home is a place where fire grows for all things to die.

My home is an ocean filled with storms and fear:
You can find in it sisters in hijabs―
Whose strings are all broken by boys who
Draw semen between their thighs ― drowned in the lagoons;
You can find in it brothers in bandannas whose lives and lungs
And livers are smoked and dried by mashed leaves;
You can find in it children who know laughter as strangers and who
Are beaten by hunger and decorated by dirt and are adverts for maladies.
My home is a place where fire grows for all things to die.

Yet, every night I burn incenses before I sleep,
Hoping that each dawn will some day
Bring a new smile upon my home:
Where people will grow to age; where love will flower and
Where fire will never grow for all things to die.

By Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto


He (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and a lover of literature. He has won the Association Of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009; Speak to the Heart Inc. Poetry Competition, 2016. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash fiction, 2014 with I Saved My Marriage. Recently, he won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018. And some of his works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Kalahari Review, Praxismagazine, The Rising Phoenix Review and Raffish Magazine.

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  1. Pingback: Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto: The Shape of Dreams and Memories - Afrocritik

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