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POEMS BY OZIOMA ONUZULIKE
TRUTH

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(for Ben Unegbu, Servant of God)

 I

Truth:

Nature's tattoo

On our knees,

Unbleachable.

 

II

Stuff my mouth with your boots.

Glue up my Ups with hands of steel.

Is the goat lying down

Not lying on his own skin?

Or the man pegging another to the earth

Not himself a captive?

 

I shall be let alone

When my time is due

 

Bury me

Under the weight of Kilimanjaro.

Time shall charge me

In its electrifying belly

And I shall erupt

When my time is due-

Heralded by the four winds

Who shall be deafened by my voice

When my time is due.

 

III

Buy hands of steel

And rug needle;

Sew tight all lips...

 

Buy hands of steel

And sword sharpened with the

Precision of a warrior;

Slash out all tongues...

 

Buy hands of steel

Practiced for slaughter;

Lacerate all mouths...

 

Borrow a rope

From a tethered cow!

Strangle all throats...

 

... that cannot swallow their phlegm

before these putrefying cadavers

pulling vulturesfrom thefour winds...

 

But all shall bite sand!

 

This scream is wild wind;

It cannot be caged.

And who is s/he that camouflages

A mountain with a blanket?

Or Pregnancy with the hands?

 

All must bite sand!

All must chew sand!

All must eat sand!

 

Nsukka, Sept. 1994

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Afropoets is maintained by Barthosa Nkurumeh for Ulonka. Copy right by Ulonka and Ozioma Onuzuluike, 2002