“For toys, I will buy my daughter a doll and a gun” and other poems by Ehi Ogwiji

For toys I will buy my daughter a gun!

my sister hugged her husband today/and her breast began to leak milk/she did not know that the man/grew thorns on his chest/while she was away//her daughter/mumbles mummy/as her iris replayed the footage of a crime scene/bright-red bruises perch on her little laps/her father’s shivering hands/trying to hide/a blood-stained diaper in the corner//the yelling yellow girl/has faded into/a pale pink girl//her mother’s absence/is the discoloring agent//my sister is scared/that the little girl will become a flower petal/whose hue cannot seduce the morning dew/that the little girl’s mouth would hold a thousand raindrops/and drown her tongue/that the flame of seven tongues/burning in between her thighs/will creep into her womb/then, her heart/and reduce her to a ‘bot of ashes/programmed by trauma//the midwife announces the arrival of my baby/it’s a girl/she says//i sigh/and mutter/for toys,/i will buy my daughter a doll and a gun

First appeared in Lolwe

My family eats sun rays for breakfast
By Ehi Ogwiji

Dawn is a recipe card written in illegible fonts,
Mother is squinting to read out the ingredients,
Father said he’ll go fetch his eye glasses,
We know he won’t return until dusk
But I am strapping apron strings behind me,

My brother arrives with dew on his eyelids,
And dreams in the corner of his eyes
He says he likes the flame on our rusty stove
The way it sways to a music everyone else can’t hear
Mother, isn’t fire such a femme fatale?
Just look how she winks at me
Mothers mouth, full of spittle,
And father’s broken promises, she says:
If your father was able to tell the difference
Between a wink and a flicker
We won’t be eating sun rays for breakfast

Telling the weight of days
By Ehi Ogwiji

Some/D A Y S/ arrive/ heavy and overweight/you’d wish you could register it at the local gym/on the hope that it just might work out/get in shape and be able to—on its own—walk out of your calendar/without staining you with rancid reminiscences//the day I was born/was one of such D A Y S/it came/obese with a pain/that floored my mother at the very first punch/almost made my father/a door with broken hinges/and left the doctor speechless//but what can a doctor say about a child/that arrives 33.3 days after its mother’s EDD/how does one describe a child whose skin is as black as the sooth/on a pot of sizzling locust beans bouillabaisse/which traps a starving man with the irresistible aroma/and sends him off to his lover with a bad breathe//I know my mother will write this story/each paragraph indented with a sigh/of how clotting blood turns to grief/of how death holds a stopwatch in a delivery room/of how a child who comes late/can be the bait/on the hook of death//I try to weigh tomorrow/the day after/on a scale/I beg my alarm to raise an alarm/before another overweight day dawns/I’m sandwiched between anxiety and a panic attack//but I have been late before/I cannot be/again!
First appeared in Ake Review

The Reunion
By Ehi Ogwiji

When we met again…
It felt like the reunion of a blank canvas
& a palette with all shades of life’s brightest hues,
But neither of us wanted to stain our fingers with paint.
So, we looked away from the brushes,
Nibbled on the wafer of silence,
& condensed our love story into a poem
In which metaphors are held hostage

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