Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 2



Obinna Chilekezi


Early year rains

The heat had had its way
For long time of drought
Agreed, in hot season, we are
Never had it been this hot

The cloud darkens
Hiding the face of the sun
And gentle winds sail across
Leaving a gentle touch on the face

It began to rain …

You cannot image
This smile on the faces
Of leaves, under the showers
Of this mighty fall of rain

See the little bird nwanza*
Soaring and dancing in the rain, not alone
The fowls, insects and others all
Taking their first bath of the year.


*Is the smallest bird in Igboland where the poet comes from




Going back home

Come make I ask you Mr OC Torture
E be like say dis cell dey sweet you.
As una no get place to stay outside
Na im make una tanda here dey fight for post

            —Austine Amanze Akpuda
            (Not Yet the Guillotined Mind)

We shall console ourselves
that those tremor-struck bodies
rippling with shocking fears
are mobile jails unto themselves.

            —Austine Amanze Akpuda
            (Not Yet the Guillotined Mind)

Two scores of years, wrongfully jailed,
Now out, first the sweetness of
The freshness of air, of sunlights
As he basks in the sun
Uncontrolled and freely

After two weeks of cell
Boredom sets in, and he feels alien,
Unwanted under the sun
To himself he said: “here’s not for me”
“I must go back home”

Same way we feel
After years of mind-torture
Wherever it is, home, office or elsewhere
After few days in the air
We look lost, thinking of going back home!



Obinna Chilekezi: “I live in Lagos Nigeria and am an insurance practitioner with background in librarianship. My poems and stories have appeared in newspapers, journals and anthologies. One of my insurance textbooks won the African Insurance Organisation Book Award in 2016. I have travelled intensively in my West African sub-region and dream of travelling too to other parts of the world.”




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