returning home

      for omar 


my first view of you is

of our waters

peeping through dark clouds

some dark dawn


they say dark clouds are an omen

their quiver full of arrows of pain

and waters are worse

when one cannot swim


we have floundered through the years

you and i who neither swim nor sow

who till a farm in the air, who


watch from our perch on a rock

waters rise over farmlands

drown rivers, roads, even

bridges drown roots, drown

that last fading harvest


we flounder still, you and i

seeking footholds, we grab at

drifting clouds, fall off our

limited sky and sink


sink, all of us, sink

with every dark cloud, every

drone of fear, every click

of a seatbelt that holds us

down, immobilised, not moving



we go down, all of us

with the stubborn dream that

some day

we would land on solid ground.





autumn grows old on me

weary leaves, cold sidewalks

and creaky trees leaning on bent canes

i grow old with it, weary from running mile

after mile, my head crowned with

its many changing hairs like this city


the chill clasps mean fingers round my throat

it is the only drink i offer arlington

brutal host with scarce a smile

i have nothing to smile about, so i stare back

tears forming, heart unfeeling, hands stuck deep

into deeper pockets where the last coins

tell you how far from home you are


it is strange how sometimes you cry without feeling

like meat thawing, losing its arrogance

benumbed more from fears of the unknown

than these stark reminders that slowly


everything finds its way home


you think of home when everything is strangely

suffocating, when duvets are not enough

you think of growing old

when all around you leaves brown, trees

undress, reveal their bare limbs

grey mourning, grey mornings reveal

as we inch slowly, slowly, to our destination


home comes soon enough for those who grow old

and weary from all the miles run, all the trees

that drop their weary souls on you, like wreath

awaiting the rebirth of a season, awaiting

a new place.


Chijioke Amu-Nnadi is a prolific poet and a winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors Prize for Poetry. He lives and writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

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