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Iska

Darkness used to be cold, but now warmth is all I feel 

In this enclosed shell of mine. 

Madness used to drive me on, but now calmness is all I feel 

I think it’s a sign, I might go, soon. 

I was used to asking the color of the sky, but now I don’t 

They never tell me the truth, the sighted ones. 

They tell me it is the color of my palm, 

I only had to lick it to know; I never did.  

Eloka used to touch my belly button when I cried, but now he doesn’t. 

Maybe because I’m all grown up, 

Maybe because I try to feel his too, down to the snaky feel of his third arm, 

Below. 

Chika told me I was too curious for a blind girl; I am. 

He never did teach me not to love his voice when he spoke of the udala tree 

Or the little icheku branches he brought me when the smell of dust and water 

Fused in my nostrils, when he spoke of the village maidens bathing in the Atakpo River 

Adanne was the only different one; she taught me all I know 

She told me the color of the sky was the feeling I get when my fingers 

Run into the deep, where my two legs meet. 

When I fall into the trance only she can wake me from. 

She taught me the voices of the village maidens playing under the Ube tree 

Were that of mad women and I shouldn’t run towards it 

“Away child, away” she would say. 

“Your stubborn head would break from the stupid noise” 

But now, I can’t find them; Adanne, Chika, Eloka. I’m lost 

The trees deep in the forest keep calling my name but I have been told not to answer 

They just might be spirits calling for the souls of the ogbanje children. 

But I am one, known by many names 

Ijeoma, Kaonyegwachie 

Mmiri-ife, Anyanwu-ututu 

Iska 

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