Home Poems Read: MAMI WATA




A comb. A mirror. Bangles

and powder at the bottom tier,

waistbeads and lusty coins

Senious hair woman.

Your oasis, the unruffled river

Sometimes in the dingy cove

Sneaking on the beige sand. A

sylphlike waist woman

Clean-limbed and full breasted

Twinkling, your eyes

Oysters in noontime—-

Euphonious, your voice

Honeyed downriver

Like the liquid songs of a bird—-

A windfall, whom you please

Foretold, an age-long myth

Odinani, Odinani. Calling out

on you

From the dark face of water wood—-

The tune, your ripples in my blood

Distant strains of your breath

Softness of your head, the lustre

moon, slicked with palm kernel oil—-

That coy smile, an invitation

Chary not at the mangroves

Deep secrets, buried in their roots:

Crocodiles mating on riverbeds

Shuttlecocks, boastful of new


Timeless riddles, buried in


Bracelets and a swizzle stick

Ornaments, not found in the deep

Barefooted by the riverside, your

loose-limbs on the other side

Dancing the water dance

Stem-winding, a water worm—–

A wail of anguish as a whale’s.

The river, bloodbath

A giant cock has been slaughtered

Agwu Mbah has undone us

Ajo miri ga-ezo

Ajo miri ga-ezo ( an evil rain will fall )

Echem John 
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