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Pamilerin Jacob: There is a Metaphor for Everything

“I will never understand your absence
even if it speaks with my mother’s voice…”


it is raining here in my mother tongue

I have no clue          what that means
                           but I do know poets are obsessed
with the metaphor of sound          of language
of familiarity: you get too close to a word
& it attacks you…
it is raining here, & I am alone

in my chair          thinking
of your mouth          the metaphor of warmth
                           neck muscles nostalgic spasm
the last gift you gave me was a hickey
                           faded now into a scab
for the pecking of crows

                           this loneliness
                  is rougher than a saw’s
I will never understand your absence
even if it speaks with my mother’s voice

                           how to loosen your grip on my soul
without weakening fissures, how to scrub you
off my breath without hiccup I seek
the bliss of suffusion, as in please
kiss me in the rain one more time
before you disappear

I want to laugh whenever you say I love you
over the phone

all poets know the metaphor of loss
how the earth, happy to receive rain
is oblivious to the piecemeal erosion
of its face



that one time, at Dominos
we spread laughter atop pizza
because it tasted like dry bread, flavourless &
we sat, monitoring cameras monitoring
us. you wanted a kiss. but in
Nigeria, a woman could be arrested
for being too happy for owning her body
I fed you pizza slices instead. safety
first.                                     but your desire
                                    could take no fetters.

you—unhinged sound, ballooning in
my thorax—went straight for my right thigh
& tapped twice with your fingers

awakening me.



how perpendicular I am to

munching always the hem
of despair                            with shaky teeth                   I

know sadness like lungs know air sadness
so thick it froths in the ears                            everything

I love is dying—my body parallel
to healing—all my years spent

staring at joy                            the way roots gaze
at the soil after being exhumed

from the earth

Poems © Pamilerin Jacob
Image by Daria Nepriakhina from Pixabay

Pamilerin Jacob
Pamilerin Jacob
Pamilerin Jacob is a Nigerian poet whose poems have appeared in Barren Magazine, Agbowo, Dwarts Magazine, Burning House Press, & forthcoming in Rattle. He was shortlisted for the Ken Egba Prize for Festival Poetry 2017 & made the winning list of PIN Food Poetry Contest 2018. Author of Memoir of Crushed Petals & Gospels of Depression; he is a staunch believer in the powers of critical thinking, Khalil Gibran’s poetry & chocolate ice-cream. Reach him on Twitter @pamilerinjacob

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