The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Jacqueline Leigh: 1 Poem Published

Poem by Jacqueline Leigh (USA/ Sierra Leone)

Published in Issue 35 of The Ofi Press.


The Invasion


They've tightened the curfew. We loiter,

they say. Guns in our shopping bags.

Weapons in our hair. To us, it's clear

we must hurry after food. I'll see if Abdul's baking.

Old Sally might have leaves. Check the riverbank.


He's got dough rising. I'll go back.

It takes only minutes to pick leaves: a few green ovals,

soup off the stem. Just a taste! my neighbor says

and twists a smile. Her hand shakes after the run

home, from what was beneath the bridge.


We're drinking sun heat. And watching the Youth

chop. They've been cutting two mango trees

since nine. Pa Saidu's not here to ban them

from his land. The thuds sound—two pestles

in one mortar. The thuds sound—switching beats.


Time, time! The pressure's on! The way

is blocked to the bush. It'll take all tomorrow

to cut up the wood. Brothers come running,

peeling off shirts. They cheer. They

vaunt, We'll level both trees by three!


Look! That man there! my neighbor points.

You! What's that sack? From the road, the guard calls,

He’s OK! He's passed! Not normal, they say!

As he comes, we watch. So long we've been away.

How does normal look, this tenth day? 

About the Poet

Jacqueline Leigh is an educator from Midland, Michigan who has lived in Sierra Leone with her family since the 1970's. She writes from both perspectives. She currently teaches ESL and facilitates writing through the Sentinel English Language Institute.

Image used under creative common laws. By jbdodane: