Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Ghosts and Harms

There are no bars in my eyes, see.
My experiences keep staring 
at the arts made by my footsteps.
Above this statement sits a history asking for a recall:
moments that became keloids. 
My great grandmother’s lineage has the marks of abandonments 
and her palms are memories of skived poppies.
I keep asking for the meaning of love and progress
and institution and preservation and memories
and gardenias and reformation and librarians
and reinstallation and liability and functionality.
My people have known the whips of wadding in water.
Where should I character in this story?
How should I tend and tender these mistakes?
The godheads and ghosts in collared coats keep burning 
the evidences, burning the facts, and clipping the anabasis.
Is knowing the golden handle of voice?
Is knowing a rebellion conceived?
Our children are shielded from the colour of our teeth.
Our children don’t know.
And our children are walking with eyes open yet blind.
At my backyard I am growing a garden 
where flowers remember.
I can mail you the scents.
I am arranging the un-deductibles into catalogues.
It’s such a burden caring alone, asking alone.
It’s such a drowning that you don’t care about these things and pasts.


Chinua is shown in a grayscale image, before a light plaster wall. Chinua has 
medium dark skin and short black hair, and a short curly beard along the chin. Chinua wears a darkcolored crewneck shirt.

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has a Chapbook, The Teenager Who Became My Mother, via Sevhage Publishers. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018 which took him to Italy. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award. His works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Poet Lore, Rush Magazine, Frontier, Palette, Malahat Review, Southword Magazine, Vallum, Mud Season Review, Salamander, Strange Horizons, One, Ake Review, Crannòg Magazine, The Question Marker, and elsewhere.