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Ugochukwu Damian Okpara: Sixteen Couplets

Sixteen Couplets

(for mother)

come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
-Lucile Clifton

my legs are sentences
running through a page.

i have envisioned the end border
so well, sat my illusion

in its utopia.
i’ve laced my tongue

with wilting leaves,
sang the birds in my body

to sleep, patted my veins
& heart; to beckon rest unto them.

grandma once said,
‘no matter how high ájá rises,

it never forgets its origin.’
but i am no dust,

even if i were,
a car would have bruised me

into its cracked windshield.
i hate how reality

swats me back
into my mother’s arms.

with an aubade on her tongue,
mother knows how to manipulate

the deepest wounds with salty fingers,
just to get hold of pure honey.

she touches me and i become
a field of blooming flowers.

mother’s love
is a hand pulling words

on a page
to its origin.

she makes home
out of my scars.

* ájá: means dust in Igbo.
Poem © Ugochukwu Damian Oparah
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay (modified)

Ugochukwu Damian Okpara
Ugochukwu Damian Okpara
Ugochukwu Damian Okpara, Nigerian-born poet, is an unapologetic flower boy. He began writing poetry in 2017 and his major themes explore depression, gender, and sexuality. He was one of the 21 mentees in the second cohort of the SLM Mentorship Programme and the 1st Runner Up in the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2019. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in African writer, Kreative Diadem, NSPP 2019 Anthology, Straight Forward Poetry and elsewhere.


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