Vials of Immortality 

There is a way with fire:
It does not consume
It keeps
It preserves 
Into a state that cannot be marred

Ash like dust,
Is the end of certain things, unforced
Into the waiting hands of mother earth
Calling back her own,

Into a state that cannot be marred
It preserves
It keeps
It does not consume
Like fire,
The earth is the end of certain things, 
Once loved like home too. 


Kobi lo
KO ko bi  lo!

This is how I remember it. 

This is how I remember our laughter
Our wonder
Our undivided faith in this cosmic madhouse. 

Trees were tall masquerades
Held down with glue
So they do not bite us. 

A dam was a sea,
Mama Caro swallowed a baby
Only to birth it again as her own. 

This is how I remember it. 

Multiplication and curiosity
Reconstructed into rubber wheels
Carved from flops of reality we refused. 

We were bold enough to count the stars,
Listen for the neighbor weary of his wives
Like flowers,
We did not know we were petals
Until only the last one remained. 

Little Girls

We grew up learning how to kiss, slow,
Not the fast ravenous kind.
We let our tongues taste the waters,
Felt the lips like they were stones floating
Until we were gently leaping from stone to stone to the other side.
I told Amirah to be careful 
To hold her breasts, secure, in their cups when the confluence is being roiled 
But not everyone knows how to kiss, slow
So next thing we see,
She has swallowed the river for a sip 
Her mother was enraged,
Dragged her across shame to the bank but there was nothing there. 
She had swallowed it all;
Bone, History and Songs.

A Carnival of Tension

Sango has risen from the ground,
The man who bears him sniffles at the thing around his neck
As body and soul burn in a dilemma of wonder
He screams,
"Free me, Sango!
This is my body!
Free me!"
The crowd chortles loudly, 
To the horrors of years his young limbs could not contain. 


Early one morning,
The rooster exploded with its song on its beak. 
So, our father went out,
Returned with pebbles and asked us to kiss them for safety. 
It was a war. 
The silence louder than my fear deafened me.
I heard nothing
But I saw our neighbor's child fall
Like he was happy to end it. 
The bullets landed
Right, left, everywhere
Until it chose our roof and Baba's pebbles scattered
All over the floor like the rice he refused us
But gave his gods. 

In the evening,
A funeral of unequal sonnets was held
Somewhere -
Life halted at a zebra crossing
While we marveled at our reality:
Living children carrying death on their head
Like waterfalls retreating. 

About the author:

Star Okpeh is a Nigerian Poet and Textile Artist. She is the author of The Dance of Dawn and a columnist with Konya Shamsrumi Press. She judges poetry for Guesthouse magazine. Her works have appeared in over twenty five anthologies, journals and international magazines. Star blogs at

Image by Roman Kogomachenko from Pixabay