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Chinyere G. Okafor

Excerpts from It Grows in Winter and Other Poems by Chinyere Okafor



My love for you grows in winter,

 When the grass turns brown,

 And birds return to their nests.

 My love for you feeds on shrubs.

 It eats the thin leaves of winter.


 The hills that litter your waist,

 Are seen in the sundry curves,

 And colors of Swazi fields,

 Laid bare by the winter winds.


 I gaze at the darkening meadows,

 I fear and wonder how your love is.


 Is it cold like winter biting my body?

 Is it making fire in the chill of distance?


 Do not echo my fear, that you call me deserter.

 Heartless one who left, in harmattan of our life.


 Not so, dear land, I am no deserter.

 I am still your own clinging to you,

 And claiming your love so scarce,

 In this harmattan of your life.


 I shall still come to you,

 Even in your battered shape,

 Disfigured by strife and all that came in the new harmattan.


 I shall come smelling of fondness and shining of distance;

 You will have no choice but to forgive my brief desertion.


 Truly my love grows in winter for my battered homeland



                                                (Published in TurfWrite: A Creative Writing Journal, 1999)




Wide country that stretches my eyes to the domain of memory,

Where landscape of imagination is watered by contemplation.

You salute my body with hefty winds,

You assault me with crowds of wind,

That wrestle my path as I jog by the lakes of Rock Road.


Wide country that washes eyes with waves of acclimatization.

Rain, hail, sun and all that fight for space and wrestle irritation.

You caress my body with waves,

That soar to abode of memory.

Wide country, you are the one that defies poetic imagination.


My dears, you need to see the place,

To imagine its essence, and drink the cup of wide country ...

 (Published in the National Association of Women Writers’ magazine, Sept. 2003).



 I do not understand this poem,

But its form stared vacuously at me,

Daring me to resist its alluring bait.

 I dashed into my room for a pencil,

To capture this seductive picture.


But it laughed heartily,

Asking whether I picked poetry,

Like berries in watery curves of Maine.

The curves of Maine, I asked, trying to touch it,

To feel its contours and drink its essence.


Glass glazed the hand that dared to trap a spirit!

Blood and pain forced me to realize,

That it was the image of my body,

Naked in its original form,

That laughed at me through the bathroom mirror.


 I picked the broken pieces,

Merged them with bloody elegance,

Like pieces of nine and eleven.

Can we put together, can we capture,

Can we remold, can we kill nine-eleven,

So that it never lived to hunt and hurt,

With bloody elegance that smears as it builds?


Fragments of nine-eleven,

Please, leave us in peace to bury the dead?


                                                                                       2:45A, 3/11/02

For more poems, see It Grows in Winter and Other Poems

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