aerial view of an estuary and its surrounding lush landscape

The River and her Streams, Onyedikachi Shaquille Johnson

The songwriter imagined
standing amid cellists,
before an auditorium of

compatriots who have come
a long way for laughs
& some Afropop as bonus,

with the first unit of his poem
that read:

I know the Niger
& her shore is my favorite place,
one I feel most connected to
because this too is my country.

Her grief is a pillar of salt
& by this I mean, she sits
with her arms stretched out
for stillborn babies
towns that go up in smoke
& an economy bedfast with ulcers.

We are her tributaries
& by this I mean, she is a heavy drinker
with a belly that forgives our emotions
that allows each sediment to gradually
settle at her floor in the hope

that she can wash over the hate
the corruption the injustice
until we are left with her reflection.

Hope is such an idea
& how many generations
has it been since she began waiting
but this too is my country.

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About the Author

Onyedikachi Shaquille Johnson

Onyedikachi Shaquille Johnson is a medical student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His poems have been published on Choice Flames Newspaper. In 2020, his poem, Reminiscence, made the longlist for the Nigerian Students' Poetry Prize (2020) and was published in the fifth annual publication for the prize by Poets in Nigeria Initiative.

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