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An Abundance of Grey

February 18, 2001|Ogaga Ifowodo

An abundance of grey

wears the prisoner's world to rags.

In his hour of sunlight

at eleven or four each day,

the sky is the smoke trail

of his burnt fields and breaking heart,

his old bowl of water

for bath and thirst and wash too small

to save a yam's tendril.

The awaited season

of rain lies chained in the obscure

rooms of law and justice,

adjourned sine die till the being

is free as corpse or beast.

*

From "25 New Nigerian Poets," edited by Toyin Adewale (Ishmael Reed Publishing Co.: 68 pp., $9.95 paper)

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