Maybe we do not know how to
write love poems for our fathers
because language repels, holds us
by the hand & leads us to the mere
sheerness of a violent memory.
Maybe a father is never an island
but a bridge. Where a bridge is
a word for a place we pass, to
our haunted childhood:
Act one, scene one—
Papa is sitting by our window
smoking. We shrink a little
inside. Like a hungered belly.
We do not know how to bawl
the choices of a house owner.
But we die thousands of deaths
before our actual death. His love
letter is the long dried piece of
an animal’s skin hitting our soft
backs. Or maybe the presence of shame
in love makes love easier to
love. Tell me, how is it that a
father’s love is pain considering?
Tell me, oh great ancestors how to
write a poem where a father is not
only a male whose seed was buried
in a lover’s womb.
About the author:
Unimke Ushie is a Nigerian storyteller. He is a 2nd-year medical student at the University of Calabar. He was shortlisted for the Linda Ayade literary art contest 2019 & his poem “Under The Green Bud” was published in the Nigerian Students’ Poetry Prize Anthology 2020. He writes at night when the world is quiet & he and his words are awake.