Eliongema Udofia is a 17-year-old poet from Ika in Awka Ibom State, Nigeria. When he is not writing, he is drawing and listening to music or solving mathematical problems.

Requiem To Drowning Voices

This morning, my room is a coffin holding souvenirs

The novel I tried to drown my thoughts in the tributary of its letters, 

Whose brown lips lie slightly agape on the table. And

Mother’s black head tie curled up like a mamba on the floor.

My mind says to me, with these spectacles,

You can sow a poem and watch it sprout.

So I hewed a colony of words out 

Of the carcass of a tear, 

Disinterred from the grave of my eye, 

And left to rot on the cemetery of my cheek 

By this spade of violence held by the man 

From whose pod I spilled.

I swear, this scene is on repeat in my head.

Mother recuperating maybe from the fifth blow; 

unkneeling towards him, clothes half ripped; 

her hands performing futile rites, longing to grasp this face, 

and watch her fingers like Moses part this flesh.

Her nose is the sky punctured by this nuptial metal. 

Raining blood on the tiles and my foot mat.

Soon mother will kneel before the church council 

in the sitting room- the way it always is. She’s always at fault.

Every home must face it, since it is called domestic, 

the women leader will remind her again in the backyard.

Believe me when I say, in this town, a lady is only first 

when it comes to prostrating before a coffin.

I can hear mother’s footsteps in the corridor, 

tempering with yesternight’s pieces of evidence.

But I know I’ll never wipe my feet upon this foot mat again.                                              

This monument, sprinkled with grief.

And that for the coming weeks, dining will be a tense meeting of people 

fearing to look each other eye to eye,

But burying their faces in the comfort of their bowls, 

and letting the spoons and plates alone chatter.

Contributor’s Bio

Eliongema Udofia is a 17-year-old from Ika in Awka Ibom State, Nigeria. His poems have been published in Brittle Paper and are forthcoming elsewhere. When he is not writing, he is drawing, listening to music, or solving mathematical problems.

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