Poetry: What I Said to God by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Though the poem would split you into stilts and beads and strangeness, Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s “What I Said to God” also brings you back, sinks you back into your body—that which you, so very often, forget you are. Notice the gentleness required, the pleading, the care. (This poem contains an adjusted line from Romeo Oriogun’s “Departure.”)


What I Said to God


God touched me.

And I said: it’s been a long time

something happened to my body.

I tried to pray, to read my beads, to

show how my body could stretch again.

Sometimes, you have to lose

to understand yourself, you know?

Nobody wants an amateur.

Not even God. Not even you.

So I split myself into silts.

For the long months beds couldn’t catch me.

I was not born for this darkness I carry.

I hold the day because it saw the night.

Then, I touched God’s nose, and there

was a laughter nestling on my palms.

Then I said: I do not come to you by chance,

let this strangeness not stamp me out of your eyes.







Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has won the Association Of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009; Speak to the Heart Inc. Poetry Competition, 2016. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018 which took him to Italy.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, and also the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to MFA Program. Some of his works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Rush Magazine, Kalahari Review, Palette, Knicknackery, Praxismagazine, Bakwa Magazine, Strange Horizons, One, Ake Review, Crannòg magazine and elsewhere.

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