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Threads: Six Poems by Ndukwu Joseph Omoh

Image: darkday via Flickr
Image: darkday via Flickr


There is water on the underside of us
Like waters of the firmament in Genesis

We become a lake
Tasting stones in recurring lifecycles
With a strained decay constant, an endless half-life

There is something about the life of rivers
There is something about the journey of the seas
There is something about the heartbeat of an elephant

We continue, we continue
Leaving repositories in other lives…
Creating life in endless cycles and dances



Soon, like rainclouds we happen to the earth
Bursting corn stalks from the hard earth

Within us are unwritten pages



Do not remember me
Listen instead to the tree

Nothing can be truer still
Look at that malnourished face, with chin on the absent window sill
Looking at a vacant sky, on the lookout for tomorrow

Take your hands to your face, smell the dust and the ill
You have been undone by this journey too

Do not remember me
I have no balsam or tea



The ocean is born like a calf, tender and milk-white
Lapping rain in first sips of life
Growing towards heaven and earth and man

With wild horns
Goring legislative decisions, ripping flags
Turning borders to fake laughters

The ocean is an incomprehensible riddle
Like a book of broken pages scattered on stone
The ocean holds us with gnarled hands
And sings to us wandering children
About the distant stars and dreams ferried on rotten decks

We do not understand the melodies of the seas
The rivulets that are the ink with which we sign our griefs
Tiny signed cheques with which we pay the price
of blood and nostalgic places of wrongbirth

This hulk of water bears us on, buries our conceit
Sings to us on this ferry to new homes



An event from long ago
And the stars are in my eyes

It’s been many nights now,
But the stars are in my eyes

I am sitting across his shoulders
My father’s old friend who always wears a hat

And his binoculars are in my hands
And his words in my heart:
“Look at the moon,” he says, “see how beautiful it is.”

I do not see the moon
I look hard and hard, but I do not see a thing
There are just the stars in my eyes
And a night so tender many nights ago


In Victoria we sing hymns
We chase flies from our bread and the crusty remains of our fish

We do not know how long we will be here
The short, balding man is giving numbers: you 1, you 2, you 3…

I am 49

I try to say my name, but he shushes me up like a rude interruption
Shakes me off like something irritating that has clung to his ankle
‘Ehn-ehn-ehn. Not now, just wear your number tag on your neck,’ he says impatiently,
pushing his palm again and again in my face in gestures that say:

He will always know me as 49

I did not know that I would lose even my name in this place
But I must be grateful for charities
After all, my city is on fire, big fires that tomorrow may never quench


Poems © Ndukwu Joseph Omoh
Image: darkday via Flickr (Cropped and blurred)

Joseph Omoh Ndukwu
Joseph Omoh Ndukwu
Ndukwu Joseph Omoh lives in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. He loves to write and experience life.


  1. I love in Camp Victoria… it’s sad and yet, interesting to see refugee camps from the eye of the younger residents…

    Good work, Joseph.

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