Three Poems by Paula Akugizibwe

By Paula Akugizibwe
© Orianne Lopes

Writers Block

I didn’t know which was worse
the blunt
of silence
or the sharp slice of words

I wanted words that could

a slow
of yoghurt
soothing, though sour
or chunks of grapefruit
fleshy, firm and tangy
and if a little
not offensively so

here are my confessions
do with them what you will

I wear my mind on my sleeve
and sometimes call it my heart

I break things when I’m broken

My fear of open wounds
my weight of things

Words that never breathed cannot
be lost (it’s me who is)
on this block
of wordless streets
no written maps to navigate
these memories
these words that
cannot be lost, cannot
be found (they’ll find you)

and when they do
there might be no

slow flow of yoghurt
just spilt milk
your freshly mopped
kitchen floor

or they might hit
like a rock
bitter from years of smashing
in the sea
but never losing its

I didn’t know which was worse
the blunt blow of silence
or the sharp slice of words

I wanted words
that could heal, but
these words
ate my heart
for lunch


here is heaven: finding music
without trying

lying in the park
summer has come
heat flooding winter’s den
still hiding
a cheeky bush of tail
flashing now and

grass licks my legs
sunlight pierces
fleshy roof of trees

behind us a trio singing
a cappella 

our eyes locked in the chords
it sounds like a hymn but
it moves like a
love song
i want to touch you

For the Ancestors

Our first mirrors
were in the rivers
which never fail
to find their way home
from all directions
impose no filters
on our reflections and 

always stay truthful
to time
blending the future ahead with
the past behind
and I like to 

Imagine how
once upon a time
we flowed without the filters
of an outside mind

Lindokuhle Nkosi asked
if we can see
not as freed slaves
but as people who were never conquered

Can we?

One day I’d love to take these mirrors
and toss them in the rivers
and see them swallowed
in the unwinding
of time

I wonder what we’d find
when we take these mirrors
and wash them
in the history of the rivers, where 

sing our name
with pride

Paula Akugizibwe is a Rwandan-Ugandan writer.