Second Letter from Ure’ & On the Day Before We Died

Ogo Nwanguma

Second Letter from Ure’


I did find someone else, like you asked me to.

He’s a good man, I know, but not as beautiful as you.

He loves me dearly, and hopes someday it’ll be mutual.

I cook for him. I smile at him.

I pity him.

I go to bed every night with him at my side but you in my heart

I kill my moans with quiet tears and with your name in my mouth.

He is not as tall, and jalabia looks dunk on him.

He doesn’t smell of chocolate axe and jasmine.

He is a good man, but he is not you.

If this is what love truly means, I will wait, still.


On The Day Before We Died

On the day before we died

home felt like heaven and we grew with pride

we were beautiful souls, children of the most high

fear of evil, future heroes, afraid to tell lies

Talk about harmony, I remember how we lived:

Mud castles and the warrior stories we strongly believed

we felt loved and walked tall, no matter where we would roam

I would sleep at the waziris’ and wake up at home

We were like family; we shared the same hut

played husband and wife, the police and thief till we got caught

then we fled home, to eat from my mother’s pot.

The things changed and we hung peace on our own iroko

strangled love with our own hands

we placed our hope on a comma

and left with tiny chance to heal our land

Now, mum says I can play with them, and dad nods — it’s true

avoid kunle, saadiq, chima and Fatima, too

they have marks on their faces, unlike you

and different religions, languages, traditions and schools

But on the day before we died

we had the chance to live and avoid death

if we forgave ourselves, put hate aside

and finally — finally — wash ourselves of prejudice before sunset.

This is that day.