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Three Poems...

G r i e f . i s . a . f a n c y . w o r d . f o r . d y i n g 

...somebody asks why all my poems are 

Just about missing my mother 

 Ernest Ogunyemi 


Today mother is not dead  

she is a star and a milky way  


I drew a constellation like her smile  

& it shoot  


most times everything is chaos  

even the stars cry; 


on lonely nights they exhaust all the pain in them  

& they become supernovas. 


I looked closely to a start last night 

& it carried a dark cycle; that is not it dying  


it is how star grief  

they leak all the lights in them and darkness fill those hollow, 

I grew up believing starts don’t die but a science magazine said they do. 


Show me where grief sprout in this poem I will show you and origin for loss, pluck a  tears from my eyes & see if it will wither. There is no safe place for tears in this poem everything dies, since the day my dad clenched the glass window, I have become a  prism and pyramid of colour, there is no day a ghost doesn’t run from his room, I  saw them many times in his eyes; very familiar, but papa is not afraid, he believes  ghost are part of our existence that’s why mom said, the day you find me missing in  your father’s eyes look up to the stars and I would be there.




A . b o y . i s . n o t . a l w a y s . a . b o y . a n y m o r e 

i do not know how it feels to dance in the snow  

and watch it melt 

so i talk of things i know of: the smell of burning bushes, 

rain on dust stricken roof,  

sight of wild fires. 

please pardon me if everything you ever knew dies in this poem 

everything died in me the day the boy in me  

went for a war and never returned 

i do not remember the year  

but it was close to a light year  

my head was just beginning to fit into my father’s cap, 

my father taught me that everything was black and white  

and drew a thin line between them  

but today much has changed  

black is no longer black  

and white is no longer white  

we might choose to be colour blind  

but a boy is not always a boy anymore  

and a girl not always a girl.

B e c o m i n g 

In every rites of passage they a teach boy of becoming 

they stretch him long enough to fit into a man 

he is purged of every lullaby & fed with war song  

they tell him to step into a new clothes and grow 

but it is hard to grow into a man when a man doesn’t grow into you 

it is hard to watch all your colours wear away and you become a riptide tear a man’s heart open & see a butterfly of boyhood give off its wings a boy lives in everyman not the other way round 

in Disney world every flower a girl touches flowers  

but a girl touches me and nothing torches, only lust sprouting into sin 

This is not a poem of a boy wanting to cry, this is not a poem of a boy wanting vulnerability  I have waited so long to be a man, but no man is waiting in me 

I don’t want to step into new clothes let me ecdysis, let me carry myself into this passage  and not a ghost ghosting, let me learn to be that masquerade but not masquerading. 

I just want to be a man who ages because in every rites of passage they teach a boy of  becoming but he only learns to die.


Bio: Ozota Gerald Obinna writes from a Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, he loves listening to cricket and birds, he writes about losses and grief.  

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