The doctor said your grandfather was responding well to treatment before he “suddenly” slipped into the sleep of death. You decided against detangling the slip-into-sleep loom yet. What annoyed you was the word “suddenly.” You scooped all the attention in your mind and emptied it on this Uncle in green scrubs. On a good day, you would have admired his coconut-brown eyes and his complexion that was as light as your wife’s, but it was not a good day so you focused on his head that was shaped like opioro mango.

“Well, wake him up,” you said.

The doctor shook his head. “I fear he might never wake up. We are doing all we can but his organs are shutting down.”

You pulled your glasses to the tip of your nose and peered at the doctor as though you wanted him to see your own brown eyes.

He quickly added. “His heart is still beating. We cannot pronounce him dead until his heart stops beating.”

“So there’s a chance of survival?”

“It is extremely rare,” he replied. “He is practically brain dead, which alone can count for death.”

You sighed. “How long would it take for his heart to stop beating?”

He scratched his brows. “I don’t know. I’m sorry. Your grandfather has such a healthy heart. Had he not had cancer, he might have lived over a hundred.” He pulled his eyes away from yours, dropped them on his nails, and said, “I wonder if he made plans to or if he is an organ donor?”

“Excuse me?”

He flinched. His eyes darted like a pick-pocket’s. “I apologise. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”

Liar! He could not even look at you, could not even look at anything. He wanted the heart. He would not get the heart.

The desolation in you hunched your shoulders. Papa was suffering. You stiffened whenever his veins pushed against his skin as though trying to burst out. At ninety-two, he was strong, because you cannot even imagine enduring this level of pain at your forty-two. Cancer had turned his body into a pot of boiling tumors. If medicine had stage XX of cancer, Papa’s would fall in line. It was as if they sent specialists according to their nationality to study Papa’s case: American, Indian, Nigerian. Each one gave directions to the nurses, asking them to take blood samples and send tests on a race.

The thick smell of antiseptics in Papa’s ward nauseated you. Tubes, lines, ports, catheters, oxygen masks, all attached to Papa, filling or draining his body. Papa was a piece of meat with a heartbeat. His skin became darker, scally. But that godforsaken heart rate monitor kept zigzagging tales of his living heart. You fought tears.

“Sir, sir…”

Two nurses. Papa’s offsetting smell must have clouded their perfumes, if they wore any.

“I’d like to administer your grandfather’s drugs.”

You leaned on the footboard rail. The nurses went about their businesses injecting poison, you hoped, into Papa’s IV bag and arm. At least that would save him this pain. One of them gently raised Papa’s head so that the other person would arrange his pillow. Papa’s face remained corpse-like, but the veins on his arms and neck bulged, and he groaned. Your courage flew out the window. You tightened your fists on the rail to keep you from tumbling to the ground. You shut your eyes. Your tears tasted like Alomo Bitters. What kind of pain went home with death?

A soft, strong-willed hand helped you to the chair. You pressed your palm to your eyes until they almost popped. You released hold of your eyelids and waited for the blur to clear. The beep from the machines filled the room. One nurse, the fair-skinned freckled one, sat opposite you. If she dragged the spare wooden chair to you, you did not hear. 

“Need water?” 

You shook your head, gaining control. But that groan playing on repeat in your ear forced a fresh flood of tears down your face. You expected to hear her voice again, but you waited in vain. You checked to be sure she was still there. Her name tag read Obot. She held out a tissue. You grabbed it and dabbed your eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

It was not her fault, you wanted to say, but it was. She was part of the problem. She was part of the people keeping Papa alive.

“He’s in so much pain,” you said.

“I know,” she said.

You sniffed and looked into her eyes. “Help him. Nobody will know.”

She squinted, dread blackening her face. “I don’t understand.”

Liar! “Give him more painkillers. He’s in so much pain.”

Her face relaxed. “He is already on the highest dose of morphine he can take. Any extra drop and I will be arrested. I will go to jail for murder.”

It irked you that she sounded like the doctors. “Murder? A dead man cannot be killed, nurse. I thought he is already dead, nurse?”

If she was offended by your rudeness, she did not show it. “His heart is still very healthy. And until he is pronounced dead, he is not dead. But his case is new, and we are working on getting a solution to this.”

“So he’s your guinea pig?”

She closed her eyes, sucked in air, and breathed out hot steam that fried some of the hair on your arms. “We are trying to see if we can revive him.”

“His organs are dead. His brain is dead. Even his flesh is dead. The only thing not dead in him is his heart. What, exactly, are you reviving, nurse? Cancer?”

She sighed again. You imagined her clutching on the gates of patience. But you wouldn’t let it go.

“Give him a little more painkiller. He is in deep pain. Please.” You joined your palms.

“I know this is hard for you.” She touched your knee. “Try rubbing his feet, holding his hand, reading to him. Sing his favourite songs to him, reminisce about old times.”

“So that what will happen?” you snapped.

She smiled, sighed, stood, left.

You allowed your thoughts to revolve around how to relieve your grandfather of his suffering. Your phone rang, shaking you out of your brooding. You dug the phone out of your pocket. Ngozi. You wanted to say the usual, “Hello, Ngozi,” but your voice was buried deep into your stomach, and your skin was quilted with shame from your thoughts, and your eyes started raining.

“Hey, it’s okay,” she said.

Her voice was so soothing, always so soothing, that it made you cry harder.

“Don’t worry. Don’t worry, okay? I’m praying for you, for him, soon he will be put out of that pain.”

She said other things you would later remember. You mentally subtracted six from the time on the wall clock to get Ngozi’s time. She was supposed to be in class. Why was she calling? Did something happen? 

“Ngozi, is everything okay? Is everyone okay?”

“Of course, why?” The “course” was dragged to oblivion.

“You’re supposed to be in class.”

“Dilibe.” She paused. “Today is Saturday, Dilibe.”

You slapped your forehead. What!

“I am very worried about you. Dilibe, should I come?”

“No, no. I am fine. You have classes.”

“My students will be happy to take a break. My colleagues will not mind.”

“The children…”

“Child, Dilibe. Child. A teenager even, not a child.” 

She sighed. “Dilibe, ọ gini?”

That was her voice of imposed calmness.

“Ngozi, I will be fine,” you said.

“How is Papa?”

You sighed. “He’s just lying there neither living nor dead.”

“Shhh, he can hear you.”

“Let him hear me. Not long ago…” and you downloaded the gist of the groan from death. Maybe your senses went on vacation, but Ngozi went to that city and brought them back. Then she asked to say hi to Papa. You put the phone on speaker and took it close to Papa’s ear. She did not ask him the flat question of how are you. She did not go all bland, telling him to get well soon.

“Papa, if there is something we can do to help, please let us know,” she said. “We love you very much, and we still want some more time with you. But we don’t want you to keep suffering. Papa, it’s okay to go.”

The tower of Ngozi’s strength and sensibility amused you. It made you realise your error, as you drove home, that your focus was on ending Papa’s suffering instead of creating final memories. His children would not come, none of his grandchildren would come, but you were there, because you love him. Papa had been there for you since your birth. Everything you knew about your father, Papa told you. Papa fondly referred to your father as his child from his old loins. Papa told you how your father would have become a renowned surgeon if he did not get Maazi Okenyi’s seventeen-year-old anumpam pregnant. Just for him to be in his house one day when they brought home the bloodied corpse of his son. Papa’s voice would trail off, and he would shudder. He knew Okenyi’s sons must have beaten his son to death. But he considered himself a weak man then, so he did nothing. But it dawned on him that if he continued to do nothing, his corpse would be the next to fall. And when the girl had you, they came and dropped you for him and sent her off to God-knows-where. He hoped hell. Papa pampered the existence out of you and it made your uncles and aunties and cousins jealous. Rumour said that Papa was responsible for the mysterious deaths of Okenyi and his sons. That Papa was deep-necked in black magic. That Papa did not go to church. True. That Papa was involved in money rituals. You saw a hardworking Papa whose wood business did well; a Papa who invested his profits in other businesses; a Papa who was generous to those who slandered him with his hard earned money, which they dubbed “blood money.”


When you received a call from your uncle that Papa was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and had asked for you, you got on the next available flight from the United States. You met Papa asleep. And your uncles said, oh, no need to sit beside someone who’s sleeping. The nurses are tipped to watch him. If he wakes or dies, they will inform us. And when you asked them if they didn’t think it was a good idea to hold Papa’s hand when Papa took his last breath? They laughed and called you an Americanah.


The tower of Ngozi’s strength and sensibility amused you. When you got home, you did not turn on the light. No need. Nonsense. What was your business with hunger? You must have cried it out at the hospital. The smell of Papa’s ward clung to your clothes, your skin. You undressed, threw your clothes into the washing machine, emptied your laundry detergent inside, like really, who cares if it’s too much? Your penis slapped your thighs all the way to the bathroom. In the shower,  you scrubbed your body one million times until your palms were sore. You sat crouched under the shower, your forehead on your knees. Papa. Your Papa. Young, you prayed with Papa most mornings using nzu and kola nut. Mama often flogged you for doing that and promised to cut off your ears if you told Papa. Once, at dinnertime, Mama refused to give you meat because you asked Papa this and that about Igbo spirituality which, according to Mama, was idolatry. Well, good for you because Papa gave you all four pieces of meat on his plate. Papa sprayed you cash whenever you danced to Theresa Onuorah. To impress him, and win more money, you’d dress up colourfully like Onuorah’s Egedege dancers. Mama admonished Papa for playing what she called devilish music. But Papa listened to Theresa Onuorah as though his life depended on her words.

Didn’t Nurse Obot say something about songs?

You dashed out of the shower, flicked the switch, found your phone. Theresa Onuorah. It’d been so damn long! On YouTube, you typed  ‘Theresa Onuorah’ on the search bar,  clicked on Theresa Ojemba Enwilo, and spent the next eight minutes, pooling water at your feet, basking in nostalgia. Ah! Papa used to nod like a lizard to Theresa Onuorah’s music. Hers was the only song he ever danced to.


You drove to the hospital the next morning, full of hope. You almost expected to see Papa awake and smiling. Rubbing his feet, you told him you brought him a surprise. Then you played Theresa Onuorah’s Egedege. You dropped your phone in the empty mug on the table to amplify its sound. You sat on his bed and held his hand. You were looking at him, but your sight was in the past, on how Papa… 

The bed shook. 

You jumped. 

Papa’s left hand dashed to his neck with the speed of Hollywood ghosts. He scratched viciously.

Screams burst from your mouth. You ran out, shrieking! 

“Calm down, sir,” someone said.

Two nurses ran toward Papa’s room. Heads poked out from the other wards. 

“I’m fine,” you said, shrugging off your rescuers.

When you returned to the ward, you met Papa, as usual, a slab of breathing meat. The nurses’ faces asked questions: you answered. 

“Oh, that’s called reflex,” one of them said, diving into a lengthy jargon. Their explanation did not cover why reflex did not happen since, why it happened after that you played Egedege.

Papa was trying to tell you something. You were sure.

The rest of the day found you taking backward steps in time. Something was keeping Papa alive. You did not want to concern yourself with why yet. Egedege filled your car on your drive home. You played it until you slept, played it while having breakfast, and kept playing it in Papa’s ward. Something in that song prompted Papa’s “reflex.” If you were not so scared, you might have taken note of the particular second in the song when Papa jerked up, maybe that was where Papa’s message was.

By the third day, your brain was fried in Egedege, so you called Ngozi. You had been afraid to tell her because you thought she would find it ridiculous.

But she solved it. “It is a ‘who,’ not a ‘what’?”

You froze. Where was your brain?

“Did Theresa Onuorah mention anyone in the song who might still be alive?” Ngozi asked.

“SHE is alive! Why didn’t I think of this? You see why you are my better half?”

“What has she got to do with anything? 

“Everything! Maybe she knew Papa!”

Ngozi laughed. But it was not a laughing matter for you. You would not tell her that you plan to visit Theresa Onuorah. Ngozi was a staunch Christian and you did not want her thinking that you were going to visit a water goddess as Theresa Onuoha was rumoured to be. Nothing in Theresa Onuorah’s lyrics, at least all the ones you drowned your brain in lately, suggested anything “evil.”

You kissed Papa’s head. “Papa, I will be back. Let me go home and find a solution. I hope you guide me, Papa.” You told him that ị hụrụ ya n’anya, not the diluted English version of “I love you.” You asked Obot could she please hold Papa’s hand as often as possible?  She looked unsure.

“Please.” You held her hand. “I need to make a quick trip. I promise I am not like the others. I will be back. Just do this for me, please. I need him to feel a human touch, to feel he is not alone, just in case…” 

She closed her eyes. When she opened them, they bore the assurance you needed.


It was already past one when you arrived in Unubi market square the next day. Unubi smelled of trees, water, dust. You’d had a rough day without food. You’d caught the first flight to Enugu at 9 a.m., then a three-hour bus trip to Ekwulobia. Tired of rickety buses, you mounted a motorcycle to Unubi. Next was to find Theresa Onuorah’s house. You’d thought of the lie you’d tell when the time came. “You’re a fan” sounded false, unless you’re a ceiling fan because she hadn’t released one song in decades. “You’re a journalist” might sound scary. “You wanted her to sing at your grandfather’s funeral.” Perfect! Well, the person you asked for directions was nosy. You stuffed your story in along with some cash. He walked you to Onuorah’s compound. You went in and knocked. A teenage girl, in skinny jeans and a crop top, opened the door. You smiled at her and introduced your true self and your fake story. She let you in. 

The house was cool, maybe because it was spacious and scanty, or because your conscience pricked you for entering the house of a “heathen.” The terrazzo floor gleamed, but it was not your business. You promised yourself never to remove your shoes. Well, the teenager did not mind. She showed you to one of the old, brown, suede cushions. You sat on another one just in case the one she pointed at was charmed.

She said let her see if the queen was willing to see anybody today. Shouldn’t that have happened before you were even let in? She disappeared behind the flight of stairs. She did not seem afraid that you might steal? Why? Because they had supernatural powers or because there was nothing to be stolen? What would you steal? The stack of old VHS, the plasma TV, or the wooden staff with a lion’s head? Anyway, whether the queen wanted to see you or not wasn’t your business. You came with a sleeping bag.

It was almost noiseless, her footsteps, Queen Theresa Onuorah, the alpha and omega of Egedege, the only voice that made Alive Papa dance and made Sleeping Papa reflex. Your jaw dropped. You lifted from the seat. She walked with the grace of a tiger. You expected her to be dressed in white gloves, a long shiny gown, beads on her hair, neck, hand, wrist, waist, and a long feathery hat, as she has worn in her music videos, but she was wearing a simple ankara gown. Her hair was covered with a slouchy, black, beanie hat. Her eyes lay down when she smiled. Her diastema, her small equal-height teeth… you were so in awe that you forgot your manners.

“Nwa m, kedu?”

You prostrated before her. She laughed, told you to rise, searched your eyes intensely. What was that in her eyes? Pity or a reflection of a mother’s affection? She sat on the spot the teenage girl had pointed out to you, the spot you assumed was charmed, yes, that spot, that was where Theresa Onuorah sat. She pointed at your chair and you perched on it. Old age had touched her, but you could not tell how deep.

“A sị na nna gị nnukwu nwụrụ?”

The pity you saw in her eyes then made sense. She thought you lost your grandfather.

“He’s not completely dead yet, ma.”

Her face scrunched up. You spilled your guts. She stayed silent, but you could tell from the two deep lines between her brows and the thinness of her eyes that she listened attentively. You reiterated that something in her song made Papa reflex and you wondered if she could tell you what. She sighed, joined her fingers, lowered her head, closed her eyes.

After, maybe three years, she sat up, crossed her legs. “Kedu ụka Papa gị nnukwu na-aga?”

“Papa never set foot in any church,” you replied.

She nodded. “Enweghị m ike inyere gị aka.”

Despair fell like a lump into your stomach. How could she say she had no strength to help you? Did you come to beg for strength or for help? She raised her palms. You took a cue and relaxed.

“M ga-agwa gị onye ga-enyere gị aka.”

You sighed. At least she offered to point you in the right direction. You were heading somewhere.

“Ọ bụ dibia.”

She looked at you, perhaps waiting for effect. You would later wonder if you were out of your senses when you accepted to go ahead, but at that point, you did not care if your helper was Dibia, Pastor, Priest, Imam, or the devil.

Theresa Onuorah only told you the dibia’s name and that he was from Nnobi. Whether he was alive or dead, she did not know.


From Unubi, you went to Nnobi. Apparently, the family’s surname was address enough. When you asked someone there for the dibia, they told you Prof did not come back this week and that you should go to his residence in Enugu and look for him.

The forwarding address led you to a big, white, house on Independence Layout in Enugu. It seemed too grand for a dibia’s house, but you knocked anyway. 

The gateman led you into a lush sitting room bathed in whiteness. A wooden altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hung by one corner of the wall complete with portraits of the Holies, rosary, crucifix. Anger built up in you because, for goodness sake, which day did ndi dibia start worshipping Jesus? But you waited because you knew this “farce” would point you in another direction. 

A pleasant woman served you drinks. You thanked her, but drink was not your problem. Why were people so insincere? Why would someone make you journey back to Enugu when your solution could be in Nnobi? Theresa Onuorah would not lie. It’s that man you met in Nnobi, that Uncle who gave you this Enugu address, that’s the liar who must rot in hell. 

Someone cleared their throat. You jumped to your feet. What was it with these people and noiseless walks? The man indeed looked like a professor. He must have been taller when he was younger. His hair and beards were as white as his home. He did not say a word until you said your greetings. Then he smiled closed-lip and stretched out his hand for a shake. His grip was strong; it reminded you of  how fatigued you were. 

“Sit down,” he said. “So you’ve met Theresa Onuorah.”

A cold chill blanketed you. Were you holding your drink at that time, it would have slipped from your hand. You did not remember mentioning Theresa Onuorah to anyone. Or had you?

“Dilibe?” Prof. called you.

There was no drink in your mouth but you had a gag reflex. You slapped your chest as you coughed.

“You should take some of that drink. It will help with the cough,” he spoke calmly.

You did as you were told. Prof looked like he was  stifling his laughter. You did not know what to answer. What was even the question?

“Tell me about your grandfather.”

You looked at the altar of Jesus and at this man in a white kaftan. It did not make sense that he was a native diviner, but nothing in the past two months made sense to you. So you told him everything. You answered all the questions Theresa Onuorah asked you to avoid wasting Prof’s time and yours. 

“Finish your drink first,” was the only thing Prof said after your story. 

“I am done, sir.”

He stood. “Follow me.”

You stood. He looked at your feet and looked at your face. You quickly pulled your shoes. He led you into a room lighted with a dim yellow bulb and smelling of blood. He asked you to sit and wait. There was no chair. You sat on the floor, as far away from the scary, bloody, wooden statues as you could get. Should you be here? Maybe you should have discussed this with Ngozi. But what in Heaven’s name had Papa gotten himself into? Prof emerged looking more like a native diviner. He wore a piece of white cloth crossed from under his right armpit and thrown across his left shoulder. His left eye was smeared with nzu. He sat in a yogi lotus pose before you and commenced the itụ nzu ritual, connecting to the earth goddess and Her purity. Then he asked you,

“Kedu ọjị ị jiri bia?” 

It hadn’t occurred to you to come with kola nut. You opened your palm and shook your head. He sighed. He dipped his hand into a wide, small, clay pot, brought out one kola nut, and dropped before you.

“Nke a bụ naira iri.”

Was this man asking you to pay ten naira for the kola nut? Common ten naira? Okay, no problem. You gave him one thousand naira.

“M sị na ọ bụ naira iri. Naira iri di n’akpa gị.”

So he could even see the notes IN your pocket? You emptied your pocket, and there it was: a ten naira note. You straightened it and gave it to him. He dropped the money into another clay pot covered in red linen. He pointed at the kola nut on the ground and opened his palm. You picked it and returned it to him. He thanked you, turned to the statues, and said they should see the kola nut you brought for them o. He sang a litany of names. 

“Kedu ihe ị kwo were bia?”

But he was the same person you told your quest in the sitting room. Now he was speaking Igbo as if he could not speak English, asking you why you came as if he didn’t know. 

“I came because…”

“Sụọ Igbo.”

You switched to Igbo, reiterating that you wanted help to ease your grandfather’s passing to the other side.

He frowned at you and shook his head. “A bụrọ m dibia nsi.”

But, for goodness sake, when did you accuse him of being a dibia of evil or poison? Or did he mean dibia of shit? You explained why your intentions were pure. He nodded. Singing, he cast four strings of sixteen ugili seeds. He smiled, switching to a song of gratitude. You too offered gratitude. He kept a clay pot before you and poured gunpowder in it. He said he was going to the spirit land to see if your grandfather was there, and that you were not allowed to utter the word “death.” What’s your concern with utterance? But you reprimanded yourself, mindful that he read your thoughts. He lit the pot, held your right palm, and shut his eyes. You sucked in your lips and shut your eyes. But fear played a game of golf in your head. What if that fire over which he circled your hand burned you? What if there were spirits around you? It took a strong resolve to keep your eyes shut. 

He called out Papa’s name and said “o mebigo,” meaning he has spoiled, meaning Papa was already drinking palm wine with his ancestors in the spirit world while his heart stayed here in this world, beating drums. 

You opened your eyes when he left your hand. He shifted the pot. The fire slowly died. He cast the ugili seeds and repeated his thanks. He turned stern eyes at you.

“Dilibe, gee m ntị ọfụma, ọfụma.”

You listened attentively, attentively.


The next morning, you travelled to Achina, armed with keys, the dibia’s instructions, and hope. Thankfully, no neighbour saw you arrive. The long gates did a good job of keeping your presence a secret. Your family’s massive compound was covered in overgrown ata, but that was not your business. 

You went upstairs to Papa’s room, the dibia’s step-by-step instructions playing in your head:

  1. Shift the king-sized oakwood bed.

Sweat drizzled from your head as you reduced the bed to four logs of wood.

  1. Peel the ash carpet out of the way.
  2. Stand by the window, at the north of the room, and count five steps: one tile per step.
  3. Break the fifth tile. You will see a wooden floor underneath.

So far, the dibia’s instructions played out dead on. You dug out your hammer from your bag and shattered the tile. There was indeed a wooden floor with a rusty padlock marrying a hasp and lock. You knew then that you’d find what Dibia said you’d find. Fear coated you, sent your heart racing, but you shrugged it off. After all, Papa would do the same for you. You called Obot and pleaded with her to check on Papa.

She hissed. “Sir, I just came out from there.”

“I am worried. Papa has always been there for me. I feel guilty not being there, and I don’t know why I cannot shake this dreadful feeling away. I was wondering if you might be inclined to set a video recorder in his room? I just want to give myself the satisfaction that I never left him. I will be back tomorrow. I promise.”

She sighed. “I will set my second phone on my tripod to keep videoing him. I have other patients to attend to.”

You wanted to remind her that you wished she would hold his hand too, but in the absence of puff-puff, puff will do. After ringing off, you landed one angry blow on the padlock. It gave way. You raised the door. Dust and darkness greeted you.

  1. You will need to go with a torchlight so you don’t trip on the stairs.

You flashed the light on the staircase, leading to an underground. You made the sign of the cross and headed downstairs. It smelt stale and moist.

  1. On the east of the room is a black curtain. Pull it.

Once your feet descended the last of the ladder, you flashed the light to the east of the room. A black curtain stood menacingly. Your heartbeat took it upon itself to deafen you. You imagined a strange creature standing there, holding a bloodied axe, mouth dripping blood, screaming, “I need blood! BLOOD!” as you’ve seen in Nollywood movies.

You shook your head, but the bloody thoughts clung to you. Your body trembled. If someone would need any bloody blood from any bloody place, Dibia would have bloody prepped you. Emboldened, you darted to the curtain:

dragged it aside:

stepped back:

flashed your light.

It was just as Dibia said: a beating heart, no, not the smiley-shaped heart, a heart-shaped heart. 

  1. Igwọ ike ji ndụ is what your grandfather did. You will see the ọgwụ swinging back and forth, imitating a beating heart. Provided that ọgwụ is hanging, the owner’s heart will continue beating even if their flesh rots and melts away and they turn into a skeleton. But once the ọgwụ touches the ground, its owner dies at once.

No wonder the pains Papa went through to hide it. No wonder the pain he now suffers. You called Obot again. Before you could say a word…

“Sir, I am currently in his room to give him his injection. The video has been recording.”

“Thank you,” you said.

You needed that video to compare the time of death of the real heart and the charm-heart. Covering yourself in the blood of Jesus, you took scared steps, unhooked the heart from the nail, and dropped it. It slowly beat to a stop. What did your eyes just see? Was this a dream or what did your eyes just see? Your pocket vibrated, startling you.

“Nurse Obot?”

“He’s gone,” she said, barely audible.

She was saying something, maybe sorry or what, but you imagined yourself going back to Unubi to offer gifts to Queen Theresa Onuorah then to Enugu to thank Prof then back to the United States. Papa was finally peacefully asleep. He would no longer suffer. You slid to the floor.

If your sobs were a drum, it would be udu.

About the Author:

Kasimma’s stories and poems appear on Guernica, LitHub, Writer’s Digest, Meet Cute, Native Skin, The Puritan, Kikwetu, Afreecan Read, and in many other journals and anthologies. She is the author of All Shades of Iberibe and a Nikky Finney Fellow. She’s been awarded writers’ residencies and workshops across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Kasimma has enjoyed, very thankfully, the privilege of learning under the voices of Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lola Shoneyin, and others. You can read more about her and her works on

Kasimma is from Igboland—obodo ndị dike.

Feature image by Loke_Artemis / Pixabay