A Street of Old Things by Star Okpeh

We turn off the lights in our past because we do not want people to see that there are layers of darkness neither the sun nor love can brighten.

That’s what we do to history.

It is what makes the boys who fight hungry.

It is hard to say your name without knowing the meaning of your country.

Hard stretching brown hands out to something pale and inviting until you realize it is skin

Just like yours.

The boys who fight do not like fighting.

It is the way we hate when love refuses our token.

Ekene sailed last year in a boat leaving behind memories he said he will not come back for.

It is strange to me how our men are leaving and there is no one to tap the trees or help with meat.

I come to the sea and I drink.

First slowly,

Then fast

Until I swallow a wave.

It is not difficult to wait;

What is difficult is how time waits with us

Counting what we have counted and teasing us with a pause here and there.

I do not know what to do with the memories of a man whose blood has tasted mine.

So I count my hair one after another, the way I count the stars.

It is easy this way.

Easy knowing your counting will never see fifty.


Star Okpeh is a Nigerian writer and poet, Miombo’s Princess Of African Poetry 2019 and the author of The Dance of Dawn. She has a great Interest in music, drama and community service. A member of Writers Space Africa, a volunteer at the African Writer’s Development Trust and Head of Writers at Portal Network International. Aside writing and the beauty it paints to her, Star presently works as a volunteer at The Christian Faith Homes, Abuja, where she finds peace, warmth and fulfillment in working with children. JB Burrage, an American writer and publisher, has said of her—” Star is a communicator. A true story teller. A new vibe in a world that needs to be shaken and reminded of who we are. She’s the Future and The Bridge.”

Featured image by Tim Shepherd, Unsplash

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