Before, now and after.

Suppose chís,
don’t meddle
with matters of the mortal,
they’ll allow man to breath
and his heart to beat
at it’s pace.

Suppose my chí
isn’t a weaver
his loom would not snap
like claps of thunder, in
hot noons at onuimo—yarns
loosely in place

Suppose his michief,
in bright hues
didn’t create ornate patterns
like my embroidered kaftans
I don’t have to shiver,
swallowing big questions

Suppose the voices,
his voice
was not challenged by this,
this strange foreign thing on
my tongue, my tongue won’t
keep him far

Suppose my country,
isn’t a crucible,
of dead chís and white men
and molten brass and ikengas—

I will sing knowing
that my father’s father’s father’s father—
their footprint along the banks of imo river,
are not lost, lest I am lost.

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