Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 3



Emmanuel Ojeikhodion


Echoes of Silence

My Father walks into this room loosening the things that looks
tangled with silence.
He says, I'm too dull to be his son & would exchange me if he could,
for another son that learns the ways of his father & not the one that glooms
all day.
I like to think a mad city full of celebration parties in my father's body
wild awake without flickering for a second.
There is no cause for me to scrape my skin into another boy's skin
for him to embrace me as his son that will gladly walk in his path.
The cigar in his hand makes my hair stand whenever he enters this room.
its incense reduces the juice in my body when I think of a poem to write
for my disabled granny.
He comes in scattering the brick of silence that holds my body to the wall
of this room.
He leaves a whisky behind. He says it would kill the lukewarmness frothing
my body.
I am not made with things of fire. My body craves a place swirling with silence where an echo understands the voice of my own.




I Carry The Loss of My Father Along With Me like a Cologne

/death visited us last night/ it crawled in and snatched the body of my father/ where I come from / when death chimes its bell / everything reduces to silence / a neighborhood packs into the house of the deceased to offer their condolences /a room of black mothers scatters around shedding salty tears/ I sit beside my his body laid in a candle-lit room begging God to bring him back /the white robed man would come tomorrow bidding his spirit with litanies /and we'd stand before his coffin shovelling red sands into his grave with our tears/ I'm alone in this room tending the apertures of grief his departure left on my body/perhaps tonight he'd come through this door again calling my name/ and we'd play chess together / and we'd go sit under the moon/reminding him of the future premeditations I promised him when I finally become a man /for now I'll tell every breathing thing to leave/ I want to carry his presence along with me like a cologne/ .




Open Letter to the Boys in My Hood

because boys like us were not born with a silver spoon
or grew up playing in a golden chamber, we hustle everyday

hoping the beautiful things in the world would one day
occupy us

Boys — Your body is a pool of fire trying to wear the body of water
as a means to heal everything that opens your body to scars.

I see your struggles but the street in your body is not ripe enough
for feet to scurry around.

Somedays, you'd fall but rise like the sun and burn the things
that might make you fall again.

The star in a boy's head is limited.
Not all you boys will glow together on the blue sky out there.

There is a symphony of dreams lurking in your body
One that'll will take you to places you never dreamt of.

Boys, they would hurl stones at you, they would empty
your strength like a vacuum till you are wrenched to push on
Do not be tired for there is a light on every path you stumble.

Butterflies are beautiful when they fly in the air. You would carry
such beauty on your shoulders after gulping a dose of rejection.




A Requiem for the Girl in My Country who Visited God with Scars

(for Uwa)

The TV says you were ambushed in a church while reading alone.
Is a church not supposed to be a place where holiness seethes?
These beasts did not only desecrated the church but desecrated your body.

They strolled into your skirt. To the place you cherish dearly.
They scurried inside and walked away leaving shards behind.
You ran out of strength and laid still, sobbing at the crushed
tomatoes floating on your thighs.

Few minutes before you visited God, they said you cried your
eyes into a river.
You had wanted to become a microbiologist. You had wanted
to finish varsity with a first class.

They punctured an aperture on your mother's body.
A wound she is reluctant to tend to until your spirit wreaks vengeance
to the beasts who feasted your body.

In this place, spirits do not come in form of humans
But we'd long for you to come in th body of a violent wind
hanging them in the air, until they sail down scattering like the
shards they left inside you.



Emmanuel Ojeikhodion: "I am an emerging writer from Nigeria who majors in poetry and sometimes essays. I have poems published & forthcoming in: African Writer, Capsule Stories Mag, Pangolin Review, Déraciné lit Mag, Chachalaca Review, Peeking Cat, Praxis Mag, Kalahari Review & elsewhere. I am on twitter as @hermynuel and facebook as Emmanuel Ojeikhodion.”




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