“There’s no case of coronavirus in Abia state”
says Dr. Victor Okezie.

but I swear by the testes of my grandpa
the virus is resident in Aba

It’s in the hands of the Keke rider
who now charges 200 naira
for a once 50 naira ride.

It’s in the harsh tone of the bus conductor
shouting an old woman down:
“two two n’ime bus, jide 250 gị or getaway!”

It’s in the bowl of that garri seller
who now sells a pint of garri triple the normal price.

It swims in the stench of Aba River,
and her smelly abattoir.
It’s on the leaf of that pawpaw tree
in the middle of Ngwá Road.

It’s in the baton of the traffic warden
who knocked a driver out for giving him the usual 50 naira.
“C’mon nye m 100 before I offload ya bus”

It’s on every road, amiable governor,
that you couldn’t patch nor construct

It’s in the homes of those civil servants
whose wages fatten your tommy

There’s Coronavirus in every open refuse dump
before Wuhan had her first case.
we’ve got demons with pretty faces drilling holes in our lungs.

…again, to the TV, I turned my face.

“Abịa is the only state mentioned in the Bible.
For this reason and more, we need not panic”

eyes fixed on the cameraman
mouth positioned to the mic
he ended his speech with these unfortunate words:

“Abia is hereby placed on partial lockdown”

I turned off the TV
I silenced the clown

Then, I looked up to Ogbor Hill
from whence cometh no help.

30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu banner
Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachi is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

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