Monsters Are Born When Humanity Dies In The War - By Pacella Chukwuma-Eke, NGP Xv

Monsters Are Born When Humanity Dies In The War

The Poet 

Pacella Chukwuma-Eke, NGP Xv, is a Nigerian poet and short story writer. She is the winner of the Cradle Poetry Contest, Abuja Duet Slam, Splendors of Dawn Poetry Prize, two-time finalist for the BKPW contest, and Joint winner of the FOW Poetry Contest, a best of net nominee, and others. She is the author of Love in its bliss and sins ; runner up of the 2022 Nigeria Prize for Teen Authors(Poetry.) Some of her works have appeared or are forthcoming on Eunoia magazine , Strange Horizons , The Brittle paper , Rigorous magazine , Haven spec , and elsewhere. 

She is a member of The HillTop Creative Arts Foundation, tweets @PacellaEke, and can be found on Instagram @pacellachukwumaeke.

The Poem 

Monsters Are Born When Humanity Dies In The War

_after the Biafra war ( 1967-1970) _

6th July, 1967

The war creeps into day without a prophetic warning.

The sun falls into the moon, and our homes sink, as missiles 

turn roofs to fireworks. Roads have begun to reject cars and 

collections of the organs of men they’d rather accommodate. 

A woman, my wife, projects her perforated intestines 

with the stench of a freshly baked memory into my eyes; her mother 

called out to her with the voice of a bullet/ a metal 

no bigger than my toddler’s penis 

penetrates into her guts and forces her body to expire.

 25th December, 1968

Our smiles, ugly— gore stained teeth, broken petaled eyes, 

slagging faces; the beauty died after the war was born. Say,

the prayers of vagabonds have also learned the art of metamorphosis:

Larva: Lord, save our hearts in your shrine!

Pupa: Lord, may this hand not find its way to my throat!

Adult: Lord, a finger is enough!

We eat our bodies without a glass of shame, wash our scrotums 

when slush visits, and abandon our piss when the heaven’s tears break

on our tongues. Tonight— a girl’s catamenia ignites her dress with red, 

corpses dress as snowmen; it’s Christmas; children mistake fingers for beef.                                                                                                 

 6th July, 1970

The war escaped; it never died    

hallelujah?    Every empty room asks after my wife’s clothes;

the bloodstains on my eyes reincarnate as gin addiction,

when my son says 

that his dreams are of a boy devouring his mother’s organs.

The Story 

Sometimes, I try to fix myself into the shoes of the people I write about. My grandmother saw the war that took her husband away from her, the war that has refused to end till this very day. And so I took the shape of my grandfather, a warrior, while birthing this poem. The only twist is that, here, he lived. The aftermath of battles are underemphasised. This is why I needed to tell the stories of those who couldn’t tell theirs.

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