skinned appearance for the court hearing
The third week my uncle is released from
the prison as a suspect for an IRA bombing,
another explosion steals seventy-three
lives at the national mosque.
The sky borrows a new tuxedo,
black like empty shadow.
The kite helps us search burnt bodies,
smoke covers evidence, body liquefaction.
That night, I slept with the smell of
whiskey in my blood,
I dreamt about bodies dissolving in fire,
bricks lacerations, mouthed words stolen by yells
& help I couldn't replace. That same night,
soldiers raided my father's house in the night best color,
stole the sleep in our eyes, stole my mother's plea,
convicted my uncle as new suspect.
I swallowed the night sear-sucking enemy.
At his first hearing, my uncle's Alibi isn't
strong to pull him out because none of our neighbors
wants to get involved with a genocide.
He watched the pity glow inside my eyes,
good enough to make them water.
That night I dreamt of a town with
yellowed fences, built like static home TV.
In the next morning, I can't taste water;
I taste blood forming sour in my mouth.
Mouth ulcer is the first paragraph of the letter,
I write to my uncle in cell. The blisters; red like fire.
The next hearing, my uncle walks into
court with skin the color of blue,
his eyes, bulged like a strangled victim.
Genocide becomes the language for the dead.
At the hearing, my uncle catches my eyes water.
He disagrees with me to stop by nodding.
He gives me a tickling smile as he walks out
of the adjourned court hearing.
Electric iron has stolen a bite of his handcuffed hands.
My next dream is about fireworks & black tree stricken
by fires, that morning, I am awakened by
a bruised kiss on my dried skin.
I find my uncle staring at me, his language has become too hoarse,
his two front teeth has evaded, the big shade of black
under his eyed skin has become a new history
of fireworks. I sneak into his arms & never wake.
Ugonna-Ora Owoh lives in Nigeria as a model and poet. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Confingo Magazine, Underground Review, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Rigorous, and elsewhere. He is a 2019 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize international award winner and a 2019 Blue Nib Chapbook Commended. He is recently featured on Pride Magazine & Puerto Del Sol Black Voices Series.