Broda – A Poem by Omodero David Oghenekaro


I have bonded myself in unholy matrimony to faith,
The shadows of things hoped for, & a ritual, a secret means

To prolong their absence.
From the desolation of a grave, my brother cries

The sweaty smell of his body rising like vapor to my eyes
Triggering the tears I have held back for so long

But because the tendrilled hands of memory are always reaching for the
Hem of my garment to draw light: I turn & grab the hands that touch me

There must be a vaccine for this Grief; something to render me immune
To this pandemic spreading through my body: a virus born of blood

From the desolation of my heart—
Plagued like a desert partitioned from an Oasis— my brother cries
The loneliness in his voice strikes my conscience with terror

And I ask you, what part of this Grief makes one feel responsible for
His brother’s absence? To want to reach into my heart like a Crane’s hands
And pluck out the sunflower wilting there, & say, look at me, don’t do this to me.

My brother fled home like a bird on a power line, threatened by a sudden burst
Of thunder— the earliest footfalls of a rainstorm that would wet his plumage
Broda, I cheered your morale like every other little brother, vulnerable

Because I, too, was cheerless. I, too, was running short on breath
In the noose of our father’s hands.
Believe me when I say I wore your pajamas each night after you left
And when I slept, I swear, there’s two of us in bed—
Two presences offering brotherly tenderness in warm cuddles

Broda, please come back to me. I know our lives would be tougher
But just come back.
Look at the crickets that rattle in the hollow of my bones
Dried of your rough hugs pulling me deeper into your tenderness

Remember the scar from the football match you hid from mummy?
I saw it, broda, while we bathed together, frolicking
about each other; exploring the newfound crevices
of our boyhood with soapy palms that torched into memory

Broda, I have no phone to call; papa seized it,
While I was dialing your number after a series of beating,
Smashed it on my coconut head, as he called it
Broda, as I write, my scars dictate to me & I am powerless to resist because they are me

Gift me your presence as my only birthday present—
Dad has been out for days; mum is busy soaking up in her own Grief
She doesn’t even remember; her womb doesn’t sing to her of my foremost presence—
Look, look at my body, am I not stricken enough for this miracle?

Omodero David Oghenekaro is a Seventeen-year-old Nigerian writer and poet who hails from Delta State. He’s currently an undergraduate student of Biomedical Technology at the University of Portharcourt. Works have appeared in African writer magazine, Arts Lounge, Ngiga review, Nantygreens, Eboquills, Poetry Column NND and elsewhere. Introverted and somewhat a recluse, he spends a hunk of his time reading Poetry, mostly, and, sometimes, fantasizing about his weird dreams. He tweets: @DavidOmodero

Banner: Fallen Leaves, a digital image by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021. Tweets: @frede_kenter

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