He traced the hum 

seeping out of the ground


like a spring

to an unmarked grave.


The wind carrying the gossip of

bones from city to city. 

The fate of silence 

is to break. The fate of bones

is music. Our silence broke 

the way a hand does,

over your name headlining an obit.

Eventually, luck is exposed

to be fate’s weaker pseudonym — the

bull in bully. He had 

never imagined your body without desire,

but there you were, unsafe

as a secret in a spy’s mouth — giving in

to rot. Do you know how useless weeping is?

Get up, I whispered

as Christ did, talitha cumi, please.

You did not even flinch.


I have wrestled the angel / and I am stained with light  – Mary Oliver

The pigeons eat a ball of rice, roll it        

between themselves atop concrete 

like two kids discovering for the first        

time, the thrill of soccer, kicking 

an empty can of Monster to & fro their little feet. 

Passing, they scatter—the birds— mistaking me 

for predator. How often this happens in       

my own life: an angel appears, holding in

its glittering fingers, answers to prayers        

& I dissolve into screech, mistake him

as the patriarchs did, for woe: off to the table       

to scribble a poem about pigeons eating


a ball of rice, forgetting how seeing a door       

minutes back, I focused on its creak,


falling into normalcy, that brutish place.

Pamilerin Jacob is a Nigerian poet & editor whose poems have appeared in Barren Magazine, Agbowó, Poetry Potion, Ghost City Press, Feed Lit Mag, Neologism, IceFloe Press & elsewhere. He was the second runner-up for Sevhage Poetry Prize 2019, co-winner PIN Food Poetry Contest 2018. A Best of the Net nominee, his poems also appear in Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poets, 2020. He was a mentor in the SprinNG Fellowship 2018, 2019, & 2020. Author of the chapbook, Gospels of Depression, & Curator of PoetryColumn-NND, a poetry column in Nigerian NewsDirect, a national newspaper; reach him on Twitter @pamilerinjacob.