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Friday, July 14, 2006

You Died, Mama

Mama, what must you have been thinking
As the plane entered the marsh?
You must have been crying for me -
Who will take care of my son!

I see you clutch your breasts in horror
As a gasp escapes your lips
I hear you shout my name -
O, Onyenachia!

The tears must have flowed freely
As your head repeatedly hit the backrest
The gargantuan machine whirled speedily down
Your heart sank with it.

The black exhaust tired you
Whimpering of desire to see me again
Imagination could not help
You felt numb.

It was then you died, mama
They left the plane two days in the swamp
They wanted you to die - all of you,
The creme of the Army.

Suffocating heat and stench pressed your chest
Throttled you away to the other side
Where men walk with their heads
Their feet in the air.

I recall that you came to me later
To explain it was not your fault
You never wanted to leave me
But I was too pained to listen.

I kept asking why
A quiz you could not attempt
Why was it you had to die
When you did?

Mama, do you know I am an orphan now?
Those brothers-in-law of yours
Have pushed me off
I am now destitute.

The other day I was hungry
But I had no money
I remembered wryly how you used to insist
Eat more, you are not stuffed yet.

Mama, things have changed since that day.
Chinemere is no longer doing well
He has left school
He says he can't go on.

All Chidi does is slave for Dominic
That wicked man at Lagos
Chima cries everyday; he is confused
He even says he wants to be a priest.

I am struggling for them all
I want them to change
To be as they were when you
Were still with us.

I have not dropped out mama,
I will graduate this year
Even if you will not be there
To rejoice with me.

Someday I will make money
And gather my brothers together
As it once was,
It will be like you were here again.

But you will be watching us from heaven
With beady eyes
Not the tears you shed on the plane
But with joy.

I know who killed you, mama
It is Ambrose
He knows a lot of juju
He willed that plane fall down.

As you cascaded from heaven
Into the darkness of the swamp
They rejoiced and clapped -
What will they do when you rise again?

I recall what you used to say, mama.
I am a man now
I will do my best
I will not let you down.

Is papa there with you?
What of that footballer, Samuel?
My name too is Sam,
But I prefer Onyenachia.
samuel munachim
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