"I will pluck soft, whole oranges, without the diseases of Egypt"
I set out
believing I was going to land in Heaven,
that I would pluck plums from the sky.
Here, the roses have withered,
the ground is hard, uncultivable,
earth’s crust shattered soil,
split into dry slabs from the sun’s anger.
For many days there was no rain
and the air was dry and hurting,
sparking slices into peppery noses,
into troubled waters.
My sister went to the stream,
and returned with broken pots,
her heels were like cracks on a rock;
she wept all the way home
I set out,
believing there would be reservoirs of water
strewn in the sky,
that the leaves would be green
and grass fresh and plump.
I will pluck soft, whole oranges,
without the diseases of Egypt.
Rain will be abundant;
I hear its sound from this hard crust
where we cannot bury our bodies,
where we are dying, famished, dried,
roasting alive in the name of grit,
perseverance, persistence, salvaging the land,
in the name of hope, scathing hope and faith.
Jonathan Chibuike Ukah is a poet living in the UK with his family. His poems have been widely featured in literary magazines.