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Othuke Isaac Umukoro: Small Things

Small things

She stands by the
window; an unripe metaphor,
looking into the darkness
It’s raining outside
but she can’t see it,
I mean the happiness
that peeps from the
back of her clattering

so she adjusts the
silence sitting stubbornly
on her lips & continues to
search for him everywhere;
in the black & white photograph
on the wall: the one that likes to
play hide & seek with her mind,

in the neatly arranged memories
inside the slatted closet;
even round her areoles when
she thinks no one is watching:
how she looks at them before
trying to pull him playfully
from under their skin;

I mean anywhere she
can hold his cries or stand
with his little dimpled laughter
but small things
are hard to find
even in spacious memories.
& for a mother still trying to
accept the jaded gospel of departure,
life is a prime number; unruffled silence
& a freshly peeled melancholy stand as
the only two unrepentant divisors.

Outside, she continues to clatter—
she has been unyielding
for many days now.



The air, a confetti of
secrets, tasted like bitter almonds.
& they trudge on, the road: forested by
prickly poppies keeps curveting into
smaller visions with sniper vultures
watching from undistilled cliffs;
(imagine) spiders unknotting,
(imagine again) eyeless terror.
Men, their legs caked with
calcified mud like cow-dung,
their eyes heavy from nettled
dreams of grisly shredded
flesh, push against the
invisible as the premature sun
casts underbellied shadows on
the bundles hanging loosely &
peeping from the back of
women with hairs sans serif
for discomfiture, skin frolicked
by mosquitoes & fat black flies.

& some trees are
metaphors for ghosts,
& birds stitch silence into their
feathers before perching on them;

& death is a wild animal,
& God is an evil forest,
& survival has many names
clawing for home.


My father’s


is a passage into a
language that is nocturnal:
he on the brown corralled sofa,
me on the floor with a serious
poem stuck in my throat,
between what was said & what was
meant breathes what is untranslatable;
& we make small
talk with our eyes:
silence standing between
us like history, capitalized;
because we learn to respect the gospel
of silence when we sit alone in a room
with death; because with ghosts talk is
really useless, because silence is how
you digest their hallowed proverbs;
because between love & light
a ghost walks, & a ghost is a
closeted metaphor for protruding roots,
& roots are orifices for blessing: from those
who carry the world on their back & I have
learned to tend upon roots & ghosts—always.
Poetry © Othuke Isaac Umukoro
Image by Pexels from Pixabay (Modified)

Othuke Isaac Umukoro
Othuke Isaac Umukoro
Othuke Isaac Umukoro is a poet, playwright & short story writer. His demons have appeared in Brittle Paper, Ink in Thirds, Poetry Potion (South Africa) & elsewhere. He likes Quentin Tarantino & Alice Walker & Derek Walcott. When bored, he watches Everybody Hates Chris.


  1. I can’t clearly say this in English as it doesn’t give the exact tone I want so i will say it in Spanish – Esto es excelente y más allá de la pequeña creatividad

  2. These pieces are awesome. I especially enjoy the author’s device- so smooth they are seamless, yet so deep upon reflection. Take for instance:
    “life is a prime number; unruffled silence
    & a freshly peeled melancholy stand as
    the only two unrepentant divisors.” In Small Things. One will be reminded of prime numbers in everyday mathematics (smooth); and then, the subsequent words: you I instantly recollect the awkward feeling of bereavement when its fresh.
    An beautiful addition to my anthology, Mr Isaac.

  3. This is full of wisdom, insightfully created as each line flow with one another!
    Well done Isaac, looking forward for more.
    I am sure you are born for this!
    Change the world with your poems!!!

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