On watching my mother and sister make a pot of soup


The kitchen is the smell of home
Both move like their fibers were formed
With the mechanics to create life from nothing.
‘The salt’ mother tells sister, ‘a little, just a little.
Father must not taste his salt.’ Mother hums
A lullaby, sister joins in, and they sway in time
‘Your hands must be firm, so the baby can sleep’
She denotes. This is where girls become women.
At the endnote, mother cringes a smile.
Sister squeals. ‘Be careful. Be woman’ mother hushes
And sister rolls into a ball of snow that melts
When father returns. They do not see me watching.
‘The pepper’ Mother calls’ More. Much more’ she says
‘When is enough?’ sister asks. ‘till its empty and dry?’
‘Father likes his tongue burning’ Mother whispers
‘What if you burn. Too?’ Sister asks. ‘What if you…’
‘Enough now’, mother says. Enough!
I leave, as the smell of soup and shrunk souls
Trail me like a wanted criminal. We are all guilty.
At dinner, a table before me but I refuse
To eat human flesh. I refuse mother’s blood.


poem: Wisdom Nemi Otikor believes that writing is therapeutic and sees poetry as a course to healing. He is from Rivers state but wakes up these days to an insomniac Lagos. Home to him is firstly Mom and his two younger brothers, other things can follow. He is a bubble of laughter in a city of God.

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