white paper on a vintage typewriter

A portal of crisis

by Chukwu Emmanuel

In the news, the incident of death rises geometrically.

I know because something is lost when you search for it.

I peep inside my father’s house & his sadness fills my body to the brim.

It is the incident that tightens the air in our bodies. This silence is porous

Enough to fold us into halves & while we watch our parents talk

About the wound in the world stretching into bodies, My sister and I

Move behind the wall to unravel the hymn in our mouths. I sit behind

My sister wondering what shape her body is turning into. We look ourselves

Over until the yellow bullets of chickenpox show themselves. In our room

With no blinds, we sit on the lip of our doctor’s instructions, we sit like

We are lost to the world. & this isolation is singular with what eats us beneath.

I keep our difference apart. I have seen death many times but never of a sister

Who stands before the mirror watching her body respond to stimuli.

& in the wake of light, when I watch mine too, it is never same as hers.

Some things rise after being silent & this was how everything became clearer

After her recovery. I am only infected with whatever sickness someone gives me.

Every day, my body sheds colors of these memories & I understand my father’s fear

As this whole rib of silence holding him. I understand the joy to give my parents

Enough children. But what manner of child breathes happiness as air in his bed of affliction?

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


CHUKWU EMMANUEL is a Nigerian. He is a medical student with the spirit of writing in his blood. His works have been shortlisted for Kalahari Review Igby Prize for Nonfiction in 2019 and in 2018 for both Prose and poetry categories for Benue Literary Festival. His works has been published by or are forthcoming in Praxis’s magazine, Africanwriter magazine, Libretto magazine and numerous blogs. He’s currently working on a collection of a collection of stories documenting medical life. 



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