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LGMW MAGAZINE

Home of multilingual writing

"An immigrant’s prayer" and other poems, by Amaka Obioji



An immigrant’s prayer 


If the ocean swallows me today, 

let it be known that I fought for my country, 

I bared myself, wringing her off of every water, 

leaving her out to dry 

in the cold harmattan. 


Let my soul take refuge in imagined cities, 

filled with mosaics hanging above its walls 

and the flickering lights at night and 

salt bread and mashed potatoes. 


Not drowning in my tears 

before the rising turbulent 

takes the leftovers of my body. 


And if the universe pleases, 

may she grant me passage to this place, 

where I might call home, 

may our broken vessel in these turbulent waters

fight for us who have lost hope and give us peace.


***


I am outgrowing my friends

 

10 years has passed,

a decade of experiences

10 new borders, faces,

people and my old friends

are spiralling in the image

of what I was before.

 

30 minutes on Monday morning,

I clutched the phone in my palm

explaining to one why

I no longer eat “ugba”*

 

How I prefer the ease of

pouring boiling water into


a cup, letting tea bags melt

to release its flavours.

 

— Familiar things are a trap,

it is obsessed with guilt.

 

Wednesday, I will fall out with

my mother on why I no longer

confess my sins to a priest.

 

__ Religion plays funny games with hope.

promising but in the face of trouble it disappears.

 

I am outgrowing my old self,

Friday, I discovered I no longer

sit with shame.

 

I am now audacious.

Sprawled naked on ‘le lit’**

with foreign men in an orgy.


*“Ugba” is the local word for African oil bean seed among the Igbos of Nigeria

**“Le Lit” is a French word meaning “the bed”


 


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