I Saw My Mother

Jonathan Ukah

Jonathan Chibuike Ukah lives in the UK with his family. His poems have been featured and will soon be featured in Atticus Review, Ariel Chart International Literary Press, Boomer Literary Magazine, The Pierian, State of Matter Magazine, Skylight 47 Literary Magazine and elsewhere. He is a winner of the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest 2022.

I saw my mother straight twice in my dreams
like a roll of moonlight flashing rainbow colours
crouching over me as though she were alive,
her face turned towards me to gift me a smile.
Her skinny fingers stretched out like antique forks
to touch my bony chin and change it to a bed;
her cheeks, all bones, in red, jutted like spires
that rise to the sky and tomorrow is gone
with scattered pieces of clouds around her mouth;
And I felt she had been eating grapes all the time;
we buried her in that busy grave and left her alone;
she winked at me with a white, round-balled smile,
rolling her eyes in their socket like ping-pong.
It must be the persistent knock on my creaking door
which she had come to answer from the grave;
lest I rise from my reverie to open the door,
only to suck in the foul air or hear the grating drone
of war and disaster, earthquakes and plane crashes,
though everywhere was dark in the sea of night
except for a little candle under my father’s old table
that rocked from the soft wind on its last sweet tongue.
When the knock persisted, I hid under the duvet,
my mother hovered over me like a silent silhouette,
lashed out her tongue, green-like palm fronds
to fold me deeper in her arms like a warm duvet.