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This is the ground I slithered from —
Idemili, pillar of seas, mighty water.

A serpent wraps around my village
It coils and it coils, taut.
And we hear the call,
Mother of our mothers,
Isi Iyi, a fountain.
Ọgbaaghara, an upheaval.

A wildness folds beneath my child’s head,
it turns and it layers, gently.
Nabata ya, bụọ ya abụ,
ọ bụ ndị ikwu gị bịa ịhụ nwa ha,
Welcome it, sing to it,
it is your kin come to see their child.

This is what my mother says.

This is how I killed a god,
I took of myself and hacked it to pieces.

My ancestors hang on my neck.
Ha konyere ha, enweghị ndụ, ajị anụ,
They dangle, lifeless, a pelt.
I have slain my mother,
and all her mothers,
and all my children,
and all their children.

Ị ga-asachapụ unyi, you must cleanse
Ị ga-emerịrị mmehie, you must atone.

I am a spirit in a market square coming unfettered.
Look down,
M na-amalite n'ụkwụ gị,
I begin at your feet.



[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Julia Rios during our annual Kickstarter.]

Somto Ihezue is a Nigerian–Igbo writer. His works have appeared and are forthcoming in Tor: Africa Risen Anthology, Fireside, POETRY Magazine, Podcastle, Escape Pod, Cossmass Infinities, Flash Fiction Online, Africa In Dialogue, OnSpec, Omenana, and others. He is an editor with Android Press, and an associate editor with Apex Magazine and Cast of Wonders. Follow him on Twitter @somto_Ihezue or visit his website.
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25 Sep 2023

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