Poetry by Nnadi Samuel

For Boys lacking little things as Sleep

My mother asked how we would feed that day.

her lips poised into curse words that claws, 

stings & makes my old man rich in hardship.

this was how she knew motherhood– with an eye for mercy.

mercy, recent search for mercy-killing:

for one thousand ways to die in a dark room,

for how i lost my voice to scribbling,

for what i do when i’m not playing with poison,

& how i carry my silence around without being friends with ghosts,

& how i delay my meals to find no one else at the dinning.

familiar faces seeing through me,

the wars & depression polished on the forehead of a boy backing the world in prayers

made silent, like streets with churches wearing nose masks 

& pastors making sign language look like a recent pandemic.

even God knows how to keep silent when he is not turning water to wine.

my father tells me to be open.

each time he enters the room,

i lose my worth in between a poem.

my sister closes her eyes

thinking she needs a jovial brother, 

not this one who only has flair for ear piece,

& limericks with punchlines to keep him busy all night.

About the contributor

Nnadi Samuel is a graduate of English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published in Port Magazine, The Gordon Square Review, Artifact magazine, Inverse Journal, Canyon Voices, The Collidescope, Jams & Sand magazine, Journal Nine & elsewhere. He is a co-reader at U-Right Magazine.

Related Articles

In Between by Clelia Albano, translated by Peter O’Neill

In Between    Sebbene la forza gravitazionale  tenga i miei piedi per terra ed io viva lo stesso tempo  nel buio e nella luce, senza accorgermi della rivoluzione  del pianeta più...

2 poems by John Casquarelli -translated by Sevda Akyuz.

John Casquarelli is a Lecturer of Academic Writing at Koç Üniversitesi in Istanbul, and the Managing Editor for Lethe Journal.

3 poems from Simona Nastac

Simona Nastac's first poetry book, “The Depressing Colour of Honey” won the Alexandru Mușina Prize “The King of the Morning” for poetry debuts.

More Like This

2 pieces by Sudanese poet, Enas Suleiman

Enas Suleiman is co-founder of the NWN poetry community in Sudan.


Traian T Cosovei, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Andreea Iulia Scridon.

Andreea Iulia Scridon and Adam J. Sorkin bring us a translation of Greva căpșunelor by Romanian poet Traian T. Coșovei

2 Poems by John Casquarelli translated from Turkish by Sevda Akyuz

John Casquarelli’s poems exult in vividness and engage the body of the reader in unexpected ways.

2 poems by Hanna Komar

Hanna Komar is an award-winning poet and translator based in Minsk, currently working at the Belarusian PEN Centre

2 poems in translation by Cindy Rinne

Cindy Rinne is the author of several books, including 'Knife Me Split Memories' (Cholla Needles Press), 'Letters Under Rock with Bory Thach', (Elyssar Press), Mapless with Nikia Chaney (Cholla Needles Press),