By Jakky Bankong-Obi

Herbs cooked in blackened pot, in water adding nothing, over open flame
Invoke the mother, the father, all the ancestors near and far. Dig earth, plant
Things; pull roots, chop at stems, deep cuts, swift and beautiful snips, light
Handed razor-sharp kisses of pain, make place for new growth. Intrude,
Pour salt on fresh wound; kill the tender thing while it is still new, give no
Room for the old malice to creep in. A poultice for festering sores, draw out
Poison from the hidden crevices, entice the harm out of limbs of comfort, ori
And palm kernel oil spell the air, stand in moonshadow, give in to yearning,
Cross times three, make wishes, pour water from the calabash, make a libation,
Spittle to navel, your girl child comes, bearing your mother again, in the hot
Afternoon sun cut two marks on the baby soft skin, mar and blemish, dark ash
From night lamp, rub in, wade off infant death. With pestle and stone, feed. The
Lemon grass and stalk, slender the reeds, garland the dance, wave the heels, palm
Wine and kola nut, rhythm and woo, see through the sweet, the tangy, pine and sing,
Impudent green till tawny, till old and worn. Make fire on yesterday’s white ash,
Cogent a far conquest, bridge to the root, maze wonder. Make more, take life,
Barefoot and brazen. Brazen. Brazen.

First appeared in Zarf Poetry (Issue 14)



Jakky Bankong-Obi, is a media consultant from Kakwe-Beebo, Boki LGA in Cross River State though she currently writes from Abuja. Her work has been featured/forthcoming in London Grip, The Kalahari Review, Amberflorazine, Zarf Poetry, Gutter Magazine, Hobartpulp, Pidgeonholes, Memento; An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry etc. She enjoys long walks, yoga & dabbles in nature photography.

Jakky is on Twitter as @jakkybeefive.