POETRY

wordings of the soul

Dear Martha By Iloh Onyekachi

POSTED 07/10/2018 12:28
969 Reads Dear Martha By Iloh Onyekachi, Poetry on Tushstories
I walked into the pub the other day
hands stuck deep into jean pockets
where the last coins tell me how far
I was from home or anywhere that is rest
-just me and the world

But you were there to prove me wrong
or so it seemed

My eyes roved around, taking in the world
the world around me
-of which you were part
and my gaze rested on you
-your eyes set on your wine glass
lost in the red sea in it
well-manicured fingers drawing stick men
on the misted glass

Telling a story I have heard before
but I lost it because the resilient hands of time
kept tugging at my clenched fists
until the story spilled on the hot sands

You looked up and our eyes locked

Months later
like all the others before us
the merciless tide of life drifted us apart
me stretching out my hands to catch
you drawing back yours like one burnt
storming away saying you were done

The next week
you were with the young dashing officer on leave
purring with feline contentment
his medals clinking against your blouse buttons

I was purple with rage
red with embarrassment
pale with shock
green with envy
I was the rainbow
multicoloured with grief

Fate rarely stops a wheel she has put in motion
-then came the pot-bellied chief
you were hopping in and out of his Porsche
like an overfed puppy
your body smelling of the cologne in his agbada*
newsmen flashing lights here and there

As if that wasn’t enough
before a star could twinkle the second time
it was the muscular athlete with six packs

The jingles of his Olympic medals told me to keep off
and like game hearing the bells of the hunters’ hounds
I scampered to safety
hoping against hope for a change of your heart
which I knew in the fragments I called my heart
that you had none save an unyielding rock

Martha
Dearest Martha
won’t you remember
how you said:
if I were a fish, I would not leave your river
a tree, I would not leave your soil

And I replied:
If I were a bird, I would not fly away
and not return to your nest
forgetting too soon
that you draw your sword
when you meet a swordsman,
and not recite poetry to one who is not a poet.

*a long loose piece of clothing worn by men in some parts of West Africa especially among the Yoruba tribe of southwestern Nigeria.

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Iloh Onyekachi

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