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Candlelight | Elias Udo-Ochi

Candlelight | Elias Udo-Ochi

Elias Udo-Ochi | Candlelight | Agbowo Art | African Poems


“Death is a comfort because it says, Transform but don’t hurry.”

Sanna Wani “Tomorrow is a Place” 

the first victim is not always our bodies 

devolving in a rot. not the smudge of daylight 

eastward. or a kite caught in its own device. 

there are levels to this burning. 

earth. its carnage commanding respect 

from every living thing. with silent toiling. 

we offer our prayers in earthen jars. 

I say break the circle. sacrifice this oxen. 

breast-bared in the pyre of your tongue. 

stand still to the trouble of our hearts breaking. 

still death beckons. here everything is a speckle. 

everything is a shelf-life. the daddy tarantula 

whose last sin was a joust at legacy. 

the keyword here is grief. unfurling—flowers

burdened with the assault of seasons. 

unrelenting. see how the earth turns? 

this insufferable sphere of eternal gore. 

your mother. my brother. the flower strangled 

in its vines. we—never allowed to live past 

our grief. follow in its merry— big haze. 

brown winter. ghost. then spring. an overture 

of dead things. be present. be here. 

don’t hurry. stay—smell the chlorine in the air. 

I know death lurks in every crevice. 

in every reach for salvation. we cherish 

this ruin. on the sidewalk. night already 

in its first layer of sadness. I picture ruin. 

a desolate dinner table. shadows eating. 

the last of their grief by candlelight. 

I want to break this circle. spill armies 

of dreams. you’d see I am made. 

to outlive the dust they said would ruin me.

Elias Udo-Ochi | Agbowo Art | African Poems

Elias Udo-Ochi

Elias Udo-Ochi (He/Them) is a queer Igbo poet. Their writing is a gift made manifest by personal & secondary trauma, both of place & the body. They have poems in or forthcoming from The Maine Review, Woodward Review, Black Warrior Review & others. They volunteer as Outreach Lead for a Global Fund sponsored Nonprofit dedicated to the sexual and reproductive health of Key Populations. On all social media platforms @eliasudoochi is where you’d find smithereens of his consciousness. 

Photo by Stanislav Ferrao on Unsplash

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