#APoemADay: “Stone” – Nick Makoha


The best thing I did was
Move my body from one side of the world
To the other. This required a visa
Which required a bribe

The bribe placed in the palm
Of a man with a gun
Took my mother’s monthly wage packet
The man with a gun

Let you speak to a clerk
He too wanted a wage
Because it would be his job
To have words with a judge

For another month’s salary.
The official wanted his bribe
So listened to the clerk
Escorted by the soldier as he held his gun

As I sat with my mother
At the steps of the court
Drinking soda waiting
For one man to say yes, my mother said

In Uganda, a bribe stops men
Doing nothing. It rolls away the stone.
Her sips were slower than mine
Each separated by this prayer

About Nick Makoha
Born in Uganda, based in London. Director of the Youth Poetry Network that facilitates business and school workshops. He published his poetry pamphlet, The Lost Collection of An Invisible Man, which was well received. He is one of ten writers on a programme called The Complete Works, which is a two development programme for Black and Asian writers. His poem, Stone, was shortlisted for the Arvon Poetry Competition in 2010

Visit our website every day in May for our #APoemADay series to celebrate Africa Month.


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