The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

Isoje Chou: 1 Poem Published

 Poem by Isoje Chou (Nigeria/ Canada)

Published in Issue 27.

 

Mali

 

At the doorway to the ends of worlds

Old Segou lies,

 

written on tent women as legend has it

and under an ancient sun, the ones bought as slaves

even now as sweeps of sands shield datsun motorbikes

and wide-belly river

and desert trade men

the tongue caked with clay

skins gleamed with oils

 

For all the changes here, they might as well have met

Mungo Park only yesterday

When he slid past Segou giving neither advise nor

Taking none to fall into the

Moors, or speak those words to Mansong,

King of Bambara

 

the people of Timbuctoo sell

to the people of Jinnie

at a still higher price

 

Once, way south at the tip of tributaries

canoed through a riverine swamp as a child  

trees so silent roots so exposed...

I mouthed the word, timbuktuuuuuuuu...

 

Mali, house of the wide-belly one

Start of exploration foreigners

Reality meets us both with unease

From the far reaches of salt water,

I am here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isoje Chou was born in Kano, Nigeria. In 2005, she completed her Master of Arts at York University. She currently lives in Canad.