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Trims of Blood: Poems by Henry Ajumeze


The iridescence
of the candle-lit
guides my foot-steps
to the back-yard at Umuidi

The evening wind
kisses the flame
dancing tarantella
its tongue full of orange-blue hues,
wriggling, like the waist of a nude hip-hop dancer
tickled with a thrusty, sensual rap

My heart caves in, as my feet plod the shrubs
i hummed in my breath…
to hold my heart.

I walked past my father’s shrine
past Ikenga, shelter of gods stringed with amulets
i walked past the narrow path
littered with ant-holes

The cactus spread
its fingers to me
My foot-steps thread
this earth softly
because my minds
and heart are heavy
clamped with the twilight
of yesterday…

between my eyelids,
the mirror spread its large grotesque silhouette of mourners,
screaming on the floor,
then cursing…

Dig the grave here!
No, there…pointing (at) a tree-stump with finger blackened with the iodine of snuff
abomination, they cried, we must take the corpse to Isele-Uku
Our daughter must be brought home for burial!
lier, our wife must lie here…
This is ahatu!
You sold your soul with the dowry!
heritage, my arse, bloody witches!

I placed the candlelight
on the boulder,
And the wax snaked
to the hedges
mercurial, flowing
down the grave
spreading to the stones and sand
that buoyed  her eternal bed of leaves

From a distance
a swallow began to chirp,
its cry like shrill of insects
baptised with disinfectants

suddenly, my soul’s lifted
with a fleet of songs

Do they remember my visit last April?
do they recite my prayers
like a poet hopping from verse to verse
from a memory bruised with serrated metaphors?

The clouds wander from the branches, it will be night again
And i see the thickening cloud romp homeward
like smokes uncoiling from cigarette of a mindless addict


Trims of Blood

This morning, the moon broke
the clouds with beams
as incandescent as the Niger
gushing beneath the bridges
when the sun smiles upon the tide

Everything silhouettes from my
heart. I sat beside the grave
And i knew the moon was
as guilty as all of us

See, to the edges of her crescent beams
were trims of blood
like a sword that butchered thousands
in the battle grounds of Plateau

Blood was once our river
our Niger…


(c) Henry Ajumeze

Henry Ajumeze
Henry Ajumeze
Born in Delta State of Nigeria, Ajumeze Henry holds a BA in Theatre arts from the University of Calabar. His poems have been published on the arts pages of most Nigerian newspapers, and in such anthologies as FOR KEN, FOR NIGERIA, edited by E.C. Osondu. Henry Ajumeze currently lives in Senegal.

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