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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 4: The Concept of Inhabitance

Dike Okoro

instilling the faith in our way of life
i hand my daughter the regular house telephone
when she crawls up to me crying, but she instead
reaches for my cell phone, her tender eyes
squinting even harder, her tiny baby
fingers touching and sliding like my big adult
fingers would when i am making a call. technology,
i often say, has gotten to our future generation
like a spell intended to spread something good.
looking at her, even when doubts wade in, i compose
a song i know will teach her how happy i am seeing her
do what i could only imagine doing,
those years when the house telephone would ring
and we would all run back to the kitchen, waiting on
father or mother to answer the caller.
how sad it makes me feel, knowing we were afraid of
father’s spanking and ventured never to answer the
phone when it rang. today my daughter has tasted
the delicious juice of freedom from a new season,
and the thought of forgetting the privileges of the
present has not crossed her mind, not once, for she
still crawls up to me, reaching for my cellphone to take
her imaginary selfie and do her ritual touch and slide
to open colorful images impressing on her young mind
things i hope will enrich her mind as she grows
into the intelligent girl we all expect her to be.

Dike-Okoro teaches at Northwestern University, Evanston. His poems and nonfiction have appeared in national and international journals and magazines, including World Literature Today, Witness Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, Mbizo, Chimurenga and numerous others. He the author of the poetry collection, Dance of the Heart and the editor of the anthology, We Have Crossed Many Rivers: New Poetry from Africa.



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