Volume 12 • Number 1 • Spring - Summer 2020

Othuke Umukoro

licking flames

nothing prepares you for falling leaves
or a mob of cicadas moving next door &
turning the whole neighbourhood into a

last communion, after sharing the grace,
a woman passed round her grief along with
a tray of magnifying glasses

in my sleep, when a bullet or a bleached
bone is not screaming its name down my lungs,
i open a window to a grey flutter of waxwings

after the war our neighbour rechristened her
daughter into a door between alpha & omega
i am praying, in that manageable way that
tells us boys can carry water but hope is
useless when it is only seen through the
bullet holes on your door

so in the end, after paying taxes on what
makes him whole, a boy is
left with a bicycle
freezing in the rain

Othuke is a poet & playwright from Nigeria. His demons have appeared in The Sunlight Press, Kissing Dynamite Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, Brittle Paper & elsewhere When bored, he watches Everybody Hates Chris. He tweets @othukeumukoro19
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