Three Poems

A Poem about a Boy Questioning Existence and Causality

Is it always the void that remains?
I have been pointing at hunger,
pointing at it to understand the letters in my name. 
Is the hunger here 
the hunger everywhere:
the same colour, eyes and shape;
the same width, dots and circumference?
I am a poet who never wears pyjamas.
A portrait of Chinua is actually 
Chinua looking at you from a portrait.
I wonder why people can’t see beauty
without wanting to put a dagger in it.
Don’t be afraid is the line used
when someone carries the intent of harming.
Ask my country’s government.
Ask my countrymen in cassocks and garments.
Ask them.
How long to find the balance: sufficient and functional?
How long?
Here I am, dear world: hear and see me:
I am only striving to survive in my body. 

Once a Full Stop; Now a Rose

Everyone here acts like they don’t know the magic of sex
A full shadow of me 
comes together for once
after many days of handling my guilt.
God leaves her throne 
and voices a plan on my path.
Is that really you, God?
I was once a full stop.
Now I am a rose on every page.
When I say I want to be enough, 
all I mean is for you to
look around me 
and marvel at what I have made of myself—
we need without borders.

An Ocean Full Of Morning Sprigs

        I laugh and ask him, how can you hate birds?

                               -Ada Limon

I am an Ocean.

Each time I walk myself out of the bed, 
there is something else that walks out with me:
say it’s a poem about memories
garnered by a country talking harshly to me.
I’m praying for something opposite and greater than hatred
to come home in my skin and hold me in one piece.

Once, I lived inside of my head
biting into my bones and marrows and joints. 
Once, I lived inside of my head
and everything I touched reminded of my frigid existence:
nights when worries dragged me out from sleep and
I grew in my mouth dust like cars racing in a desert.

I wish to let you know that in my life
there is no mystery more mysterious than my father
being taken from me when I was thirteen.  

At thirteen, everything turned out a folded aspen,
and I left the boy I was for a man 
that I didn’t grow well enough to become.

And my uncle wants to know if I’m still an abandoned boy in a university. 

Show me how to say love without growing
the evidence of hurt: i want to say too much
without choking. I want to play aria notes with my own eyes.

There are thoughts I carry into the twilight:
somehow I have thought of that man, Judas.
and how he was doomed before he was really doomed.
I’m roped by a character from the 6 underground who said: in art, 
the revered hopes often come true, the heroes always win.
But tell me, who then came up with the lessons in every act 
or experience? the guilt and remorse, penitence and regret? who? 
Who involved memories in an undone space? who?

Remember I want us to always remember.
Remember how this language is not even mine and I’m using it.
I want us to understand everything and how it takes 
so much of our memories become suited to dogs.

The un-treaded road has turned to teeth the things 
I’m trying to hold together in my life. 

Let this day be blessed as I look for my soul’s pocket.
Forgive me if I’m not telling this story right.
But I want to defile gravity to see how many men I can split into.

I am an Ocean and want to be enough.


Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto
Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has a Chapbook, The Teenager Who Became My Mother, via Sevhage Publishers. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and also the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to  MFA Program. In 2019, he was the winner of Sevhage/Angus Poetry Prize and second runner-up in 5th Singapore Poetry Contest. His works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Poet Lore, Massachusetts Review, Frontier, Palette, Malahat Review, Southword Magazine, Vallum, Mud Season Review, Salamander, Strange Horizons, Anmly, Massachusetts Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly , Spectacle Magazine, Ruminate and elsewhere.