Othuke Isaac Umukoro: Small Things

Window woman
Image by Pexels from Pixabay (Modified)

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)

About the author

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.


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  • 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

  • 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.

  • Nice piece you have…… Excellent choice of words and I love d device employed….. Nice work bro….. Keep it up

  • 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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