The Real Heroes by Iwuagwu Ikechukwu

While mother earth inhales and attempts a throwback pose

They helter skelter round the clock clad in blue like the fluffy bedspread above

Stethoscopes snaked around necks weary with burden

The battle is grotesque

Not the usual stuttering eloquence of rifles

But the darting speech of syringes, yawning of forceps and beeping of ECGs

Palms of healing lore breaking sessions with the reaper via heaps of pressure upon halting chests

Calm, plying troubled veins upon wheels of anesthesia

Tranquility possesses the arena like the flowing Thames

As the head butt begins between covid and its suffocation

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear good minds, some wear sane consciences, some wear

courage, while others seat their lives atop pegasus of chances in front of the dancing typhoon

The whirlwind of fate does what it wishes, bequeathing a tempest of intricate tides


Iwuagwu Ikechukwu is an African poet, essayist, budding playwright, screenwriter, and graduate with a degree in English and Literature. His poems won the Poetry Nook weekly contest & got an honourable mention respectively, available in the fifth paperback edition of the Poetry Nook anthology on amazon. His short story "Five Shades of Victory" was awarded an honourable mention in the IHRAF Creators of Justice award in New York (2020 edition). His works have been published in The Shallow Tales Review, Black Boy Review, Talk Afro Magazine & Ka'edi Africa (Nigeria), About Place Journal, Flora Fiction, Fumble Magazine, Bombfire Lit, Cholla Needles, Disquiet Arts (USA), Dissonance Magazine (UK) and Orange Blush Zine (Malaysia). He is a lover of the Igbo culture and can be found in his spare time researching, writing, studying, reading African literature, or engaging in creative and thought-provoking arguments.

Author's note

This poem is inspired by Achilles in Greek mythology. As an infant Achilles' mother dipped him into the River Styx, which made him invulnerable everywhere but the heel by which she held him. For ten years Achilles was a great hero in the Trojan War for the Greeks. But in the end, Paris, son of the Trojan king, fatally wounded Achilles in the heel. Today, the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone is called the Achilles tendon, and a small but dangerous weakness is known as an "Achilles heel". Certainly, the mythological tale underscores the fact that these doctors in the hospital who seem to be untouchable by diseases remain vulnerable in one way or another.