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by Othuke Umukoro


That is the number
of Cross River gorillas
Every morning, just
before sunrise, I sit
at the window
not ready, yet open
for what the day holds.
I do not know what it is like
to always be on the run, to have
your bones picked clean, or the
language of the forest after
a chainsaw squashes it.
What I know comes
in palpable fragments. Their
dark caramel eyes, the tired
little ones asleep on the firm chests
of their mothers, how softly
their hands will open
into mine like a tulip.
Outside, smoke
goes before silence. Why
refuse to


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