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    ‘Ghosts of Jeevanjee’ is a gripping poem by Sheila Nyanduaki Okong’o (Kenya) that ranked second at the Babishai Niwe Poetry Award Contest 2015.  

    ***

    You knew he would visit you,
    sitting on the concrete bench, alone, pretending to be immersed in an old book
    He greets your silence like an old friend
    and stays there.
    He will bother to describe the trees to you
    each one of them
    points at the shrubs by your feet and say- choose the one that speaks to you most and I’ll give you its  name.
    The sun will burn your back for attention
    the ants will pilgrimage up your skin like hungry hands
    but you will do nothing about it.
    He will tell you this- when the imminent rain comes, don’t run away from it
    allow it to wash your shadow clean
    until it no longer darkens the ground above you.
    And that even there,
    in the midst of  love oaths
    buried earthworms
    hands pressed together in worry
    planned sabbaticals
    eagles’ droppings
    ‘I am the bread of life’ sermons
    thieves with no faces
    memories of sex
    great jokes told with closed mouths
    smooth stones and potted flowers.

    Even there,
    you will find two friends:
    Wrath, which burns but is sweeter
    and Mercy, which suffocates but is lighter.
    Choose one,
    and it will give you your name.

    ©  Sheila Nyanduaki Okongo

    Image Credit

    The Ghost of Jevanjee by Sheila Nyanduaki | #Babishai2015 via @theMagunga
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    Maria Sanchez

    I will never grow weary of announcing to you; “You are truly amazing”!

    Gideon Kioko

    Sheila, you are amazing. I love it. 101% awesome

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