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Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu

Rookie - 81 Points (16 January 1968 / Umuahia, Nigeria)

Inheritance


The title of his book is eponymous
And so was the title of his father’s
Own book and his father’s father’s
Own book, stretching to the back
Frame of their family book club.

A family haunted by shadows of
Ineluctable sarcasm, each member
Waned early, greyed early by way
Of early emulous propensities.

Death fired stealthily at them
By way of frayed nerves, corsaged
On the thresholds of their rumpled tunics.
No one knew the cause of their deaths.
Cirrhosis of the arts, perhaps. Or better
Still, tumour of the printed word.

But they died actually – father, son
And father, in that order.
Withered rose petals formed the crux
Of their wreaths - thorny crowns
Borrowing from the ecce homo of
A sedated painter.

Their tombstones at a decrepit necropolis,
On the fetid rump of the village,
Lie on fallen, half-sepultured pulpits,
Carved in stones of putrid sands.
The epitaph on each head, eponymous,
Brief and straight to a deadening point.

Submitted: Wednesday, October 06, 2010
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