Empowered Poem by Ivan Chizurum Ezeigbo


The rain washes down the slippery clay
On the untidy shores of Africa
Passing through the frontal of our impoverished household
For ages and generations it seemed to remain that way
You could see that degree of penury just everywhere you stare
From the rusted tired zinc roof to the ragtag of curtains and carpets
From the abundant culture of algae on the wall to the dwarf height of our fence
All you can see in this household and down the street to the left is indigence
If you need to confirm this, you need just one simple process
Standing at the tip of your toes, you can glare to the left, over the fence
And the first impecunious erection you would see is a shrine
Yes, a shrine, an old one
And from stories I heard, if you walk right in, your destiny is sealed
Sealed to a change my parents never believed
They preferred to remain in poverty than in self-insolence
Each day Baba, the priest, babbled and screamed to some shadows
Before entering the shrine one had to make do with his footwear
One had to carry a handsome sum of money
All this to get ones destiny sealed
All this to be empowered
A few occasions I was chased by hunger, I might have ran in there for refuge
Today was different
No hen or goat screamed for its life and Baba didn’t cry out to the spirits
I was curious to know how my neighbor’s business got so tranquil
Maybe the spirits had cried out to him this time that no one could hear or see
I stepped outside my house and moved to the left
I drew open the gate and took off my slippers,
Still Baba didn’t shout nor did I hear his irritatingly loud gong
I walked shaking down the carpet grass path towards the door
Steadily I pulled open the curtain
Then I heard the scream
And it was probably coming from me

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