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Running: Poems by Nduka Echezonachukwu



Living in a room alone
is like hearing demons
saying my name in echoes,
inviting me to a dance
accompanied by no music.

One decade and a half
is an unwashed cotton
playing host to a gecko
and roaches unwilling
to look elsewhere.

Outside my window, there’s a siren
that has refused to go off;
a boy that has not stopped running
who knows all the policemen by their names
and wears his black skin like a mask.

He pays for sins he is yet to commit,
raises both hands to keep his life;
yet, he will not stop running.
I am in my room running too—
only that my legs are not moving.



A bloody strand of hair sits on her head
Like the twinge of a tale.
Many roads stretch their planes
Into distances in her mind begging to be travelled—
A forgone apology seeps out of her eyes as tears
And a dirge pours out of the precipice that rules the night.
She kisses me goodnight and the world’s drugs expire at gunpoint.
The world lies still in a theatre and no surgeon is in sight.



The woman in black says her life
is a bottle uncorked by force.
Her scarf is an almanac of obsequies
tied to forestall memories.
She is both blood and poison praying
for a democracy that feeds on human flesh.

Poems © Echezonachukwu Nduka

Echezonachukwu Nduka
Echezonachukwu Nduka
Echezonachukwu Nduka, poet and classical pianist, is the author of the critically acclaimed collection Chrysanthemums for Wide-Eyed Ghosts (2018). Hailed by The Guardian Life Magazine as artist extraordinaire, his writing has appeared in 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry Vol. II, A Thousand Voices Rising: An Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry, Transition, Expound, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, River River, Bombay Review, Ake Review, Saraba, Jalada Africa, Bakwa Magazine, among others. He currently resides in New Jersey where he writes, teaches, and performs regularly as a solo and collaborative pianist. Find him online at

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