Waters in a Broken Pot
My only pot broke on the way to the stream
And smashed smithereens of hope
Seeping crumbled dreams
Through the smokescreen
Of the overwhelming deluge
That came after the thunder.
Wistful memories flared in the dark
Wisps of its smoke rose upwards above the skyline
Crumpling up the surging bodies of the duck pond
Once sopped wet with mosses and ferns.
Hereabouts, it thunders again
And I cannot hide from its claps
Sprinkling beads of gooseflesh
Dazzling on every pore.
In my earshot, cock crowed at noon
My fears strained in its echoes.
Spider’s webs were woven in my hearing
Because night fell during the day
Suffused with mists of deep sorrows.
A world staved in my heart
World of seers among the soft-green hills.
Trickle of tears, hot and unsavory
Spluttered on the freckled leaves
And the birds and their nestlings
Stampeded into the womb of the forest
At the fall of the Iroko.
The pot of water
Slipped from my head and crumbled
In my twilight dream, frail and elusive
Its fountain lingering in my mind.
James Onyebụchi Nnaji studied English in the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, where he also served as the Editor of The Muse: A Journal of English and Literary Studies, Number 39. His writings have appeared in Drumtide Magazine (USA), African Crayons Magazine, The Curlew Magazine (Wales), Ògèlè: An Anthology of Creative Literature Vol.2 and elsewhere. He has been receiving recognition for his poetry in contests since 2009; most recently, as 2019 joint third prize winner, Poetry Matters Project Literary Prize (Augusta, Georgia, USA). He lives in Enugu, Nigeria.