On a state visit in Nigeria
She was cloistered
Among her jeweled eggs,
The Fabergé. Nothing of the streets
Came in shore. Just mirrors of waving hands,
Welcoming the donkeys, laden with grief
And in the company of the queen, a young buck –
In harm’s ways – against the message
of that bloody Sunday. A strange time bears an infant
in her bosom: in Istanbul, in Fallujah, in Kirkuk,
the claws of the falcons probe the night.
But we, the oblivious,
Merry, make her bed, wave
The flag of our hospitality,
And of the dear old empire. Showed
Missus Windsor our open-hearted
Place, where nothing stirs – not in this
Night of our autumnal.
But if some noon,
The thing inside us stirs,
For the witch will cry,
And her time will be near.
- To the Queen and Her Donkeys is taken from Obi Nwakanma's new collection of poetry, The Horsemen and Other Poems.
- Reproduced with permission.