Othuke Umukoro

Othuke Umukoro

the other art of de(c)oding 

‚Äča healthy year unfreezes
rituals of tangled roots

undergrowth with clumps of morning sunlight
tongue talking ground thrushes a lush foliage 

riotous lilies a mosaic
blossoming dusky quiet ponds

every tree you told me is an ancestor with incense
every low-hanging mellow fleshy harvest a window to wisdom

how many times have I set forth with longings
for the communion of trees for the landscape of your laughter

in a forest that stoops slowly to pick moist fog
revealing glossy mossy thighs

what I am in this soft stillness
this tessellation of earth songs 

is a body in translucent rediscovery
an unsaid cry rolling dawn’s sparkle from deep within

away from the harshness of blighted civilizations
this dark damp floor my eyes planted in yours

their parting a green entrance
& what is salvation 

if not how we give our body to beauty
to the memory of what does not rust

OTHUKE UMUKORO, poet and educator, is the winner of the 2021 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. He was highly commended in the 2021 Winchester Poetry Prize. He tweets @Othuke__Umukoro