—after Adam Zagajewski’s poem of the same title
My favourite poets
are the folks planting trees
cleaning up our dying lakes
& rivers & oceans.
The women & men marching,
arm in arm on hot asphalt & chanting,
No Justice, No Peace.
The folks who register & wait
patiently in a single file line to vote.
My favourite poets are the people who
smile & throw warm compliments
around like confetti. The single moms
working double shifts so they can
send their kids to a better school, the fathers
who read to their children before bed.
My favourite poets are the people fighting
to make sure girls in my country
are allowed to go to school, the folks
writing to their senators & calling for change.
They are the black & brown boys & girls
doing their thing & saying we don’t need your
permission to be what we always been, brilliant.
The people who say please & thank you.
They’re the young people volunteering as
poll workers in this election, the restaurants
giving out free meals to protesters.
The women & children in IDP camps
in my country—whose homes have been
uprooted by a brutal war—who are holding
hope tenderly by the hand because they still
believe that someday a brighter sky will come.
The friends that stay through dismay & beauty,
whose shoulders we can stand & cry on.
My favourite poets are those who give
alms to beggars & refuse to send
widows away empty-handed.
The homeless man at the foot of our street
who shares his bread with straying dogs.
Othuke is a poet, playwright & an overzealous woodpecker from Nigeria. He is a Pushcart & 2x Best of the Net Nominee. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in Crooked Arrow Press, Tentacular, Mineral Lit Mag, The Sunlight Press, Random Sample Review & elsewhere. He tweets @othukeumukoro19.
IG: Othuke Umukoro