Sentinel Poetry #49     December 2006    ISSN 1479-425X


Guest Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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Toni Kan


We Sit In The Kitchen and Eat Chicken


Itís another Christmas                                                    

And we sit in the kitchen and eat chicken

My mother smiles with sadness

Her smile is bright but her eyes are sad

The edges are coloured black with pain


We sit in the kitchen and eat chicken

Our fingers sleek and shiny with oil

My motherís smile is frayed and flaky

Peeling off like the ceiling in her room

Where she sleeps alone since father left


My mother says, eat, eat your chicken

And smiling, we eat as she bids us

Gorging on our big, fat chicken

And thanking God for Western Union

And the father we no longer see.



When The Landlord Comes For His Rent


When the landlord comes for his rent

He does not ask for money

He smiles and asks after the children

His lips curled at the edges with the shame

He once knew but no longer feels


He does not speak with his mouth

But his eyes tell me without words

Of the need he dare not speak about

His eyes are roaring lions eager                                 

To grab, and kill and devour


When the landlord comes for his rent

The children leave the room

Their eyes cast down with shame

He no longer asks for money

He asks whether my bed is made.




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Toni Kan