HOME IS AN OPEN DOOR by Chisom Okafor


Nobody leaves home

Unless home is the mouth of a shark

Warsan Shire.


We once sauntered into the night

or rather, flew into it

with the bats, like pilgrims advancing by faith

never here, nor there, the way

a bat is half mammalian and half non-mammalian

the end-point was never part of the plan

we simply moved, and the paths moved with us,

leading us home, unfolding like

tents approached from a distance.


One time, we were refugees from Maiduguri,

dashing away from rebels, and from forceful conscription,

willing our fire to propel us

away, like pilgrims, to the welcoming warmth of home.

Another time, and we were in the West,

innocent inhabitants shielding ourselves

from menacing Russian Kalashnikovs of herdsmen

who brandished bullet spitting metals for sticks

and artillery for cattle.

Or the casualties, letting the bullets tear into us

(when we rose in defiance)

Like stones slammed into a lake


Yet another moment, and we were all these and more

More being home, where love is-

a baby-eagle defying odds, to thrive.

Putting up a spirited effort against the forces

that breed hatred, and death. Because home is

where the open door of love is, though it hangs

loosely on its hinges.


Chisom Okafor

Chisom Okafor studied Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His poem came third in the 2016 edition of Nigerian Students Poetry Prize.



by Ojo Taiye

there is always someone calling your name softly
at the skin of midnight

distant folk songs
vane in the winds

and your heart smokes warm
as tears tumble across
your crusty cheek

you see the distance from home
the gurgling of familiar streams
the clarity of sanguineous laughter
the flowers painted brown by the dust of life

thunder in their veins
lightening in their hair

fathers who fought with the earth
mothers who smell of blood

all of them fight for a space in the soil
with their fingers, tongues and breasts

all of them carry fire in their arms to burn
the portrait of an underfed child living in their eyes

Ojo Taiye

Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a handy tool to hide his frustration with the society.



a poem eludes me
by Olawale Ibiyemi



I am stuck at the surface of my skull

like a miner with a plastic digger


I probe the alabaster box

for her fragrance

but her lips are sealed with the hymen of rebellion


the nose of my pen is bruised,

her head, bashed against my Muse


I did not know that the egg

if thoroughly provoked

will shatter a diamond stone





I plod the path of sages

reading the clouds to still the mind

parting the seas to still the tides

that rumble in the veins of all troubadours


I walk, holding my shadow by the ears;

so it does not stray from the path

into the mouth of darkness


I plod the path of sages

searching for a poem

to soothe the neck of Judas

to douse the flames of Sodom:


Ignorance, they say, is the greatest darkness

threatening the redemption

of the I





When leaves fall, the mouth of the earth

is wide open to incubate the carcasses


when poems ripen, they explode

splattering the walls of the mind


but when we reach out

to pluck these leaves for our healing

pluck these poems for deliverance


The Tree stands on her toes, raising her shoulders

hiding her boughs in the clouds

-poisoning the rain-


I will plod the path of sages

digging the earth with bare hands:

invoking every dead poem,

sprouting new leaves.


Olawale IbiyemiOlawale Ibiyemi is a young poet and student of Accounting at Babcock University, Nigeria. His poems have appeared in the anthology “These words will cure a dead man” by Sprinng Literary Movement, 2016.

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