3 Poems by Efe Ogufere



first woman
plants a flag in my heart, colonizes it.
sows a seed in my soul & steals it.
there are not enough fruits in eden
to banish me from her bosom,
tear me from her thighs, shield me from the lies
but first woman who plants a seed in my soul,
saves it. my body bends to her touch 
& I will it.

second woman
drives an excavator through & razes it,
rips it apart & tears it by the seams. 
you see first woman left me 
a forest of beautiful trees nestling 
the songs of wild birds in the morning 
until the rains came & she left.

second woman came & the deforestation began.
the green, my essence was bartered
as I watched the lumberjack take & take, until
my body broke & east winds washed over me.

third woman
appraises me like you would lost puppies
or flawed gems; broken, but beautiful.
she wants to save me- 
but those sapphire blue eyes remind me
of first woman & I recoil at her touch.
you see a body betrayed can never bend over again,
so I break third woman beyond repair.

(For Oniovosa)

two sets of little feet shuffle
in a sea of periwinkle shells,
keenly taking lessons
on patience and deception
from scruffy fishermen in Orerokpe.
sustenance as bait for sustenance.

if death has no allure to the living
little brother squirms when
a worm wriggles in his grasp
why then do damaged men
pour from a bridge into the deep?

hook ready, the fish folk signal
for silence to wash over us,
each breath metered as though
a tasting of fine wine before a feast.
our offering to the river is a painful wait
for the tugging of the line.

brother rises as though in a
trance and plunges into the river
viscosity shows no spine
as the film of oil breaks
and the black adorns him in its sheen.

I still remember not flinching,
nerves of steel, or shock,
or simply dearth of common sense,
until he was baptized three times.
to this day mother still chides
about a siren’s unanswered call.


Nana is not a writer
but she often sits in airport terminals 
with a spindle nestled between her fingers,
twisting and winding threads to
weave stories out of the faces in the fabric.

-a soldier absentmindedly 
stroking his pendant, ode to remembrance,
a repository of memories for a lover
and daughter he carries to war-

-a salesman rehearsing his pitch,
impulsively checking a 20 dollar watch,
he borrowed, to hoodwink strangers
into a cause he doesn’t believe in-

– a middle-aged man in cassock, 
clothed in piety and perceived reverence,
pulling penance out of purgatory
for the original sin heavy on his lips-

– a coltish mother wiping a tear,
an oxymoron of expressions, sadness in her eyes 
and a jaunty smile poised on lips as a baby suckles 
from her breasts and she, thankful for
little mercies-

-lovers with duplicitous demeanor,
drenching their crumpled tickets with sweaty palms,
battling the urge to reach out to each other
elopement weighs on bodies yearning for freedom
to love and be loved, absent judgment-

Nana is not a writer 
but she often sits in train stations 
with a spindle nestled between her fingers,
hoping that someone out there, weaving too, captures 
her beautiful side in the faces on their own fabric,
she always dresses to kill.

Efe Ogufere is a Nigerian poet working in Port Harcourt. A few of his poems have been featured on journals and magazines such as Sediments Literary Review, The Kalahari Review, Afrikan Mbiu, Ibis Head Review and The Single Story Foundation Issue I. In 2016, he was long-listed for the RL Poetry Award (International Category). In 2017, He was listed by Nanty Green as one of the top ten contemporary poets you should be reading. His chapbook A Portrait of Violence drops in 2019. He tweets at @ablvckpoem

Lake Adedamola is a poet, writer, and editor with Nantygreens, who's worked with several other literary blogs including Brittle Paper. He has, since 2018, served in various capacities on the Lagos International Poetry Festival, LIPFest, team.

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