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A Place We Pass | Unimke Ushie

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.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


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.
Instagram: @unimkeushie

Published inPoetry&Musings

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