Distance By Ijeoma Umebinyuo


You should call your mother; she has become more prayerful with age and your absence make her bones ache. You tell me how the sky is no different in America, still blue on some days, still grey on so many days and you say, “there is no snow in Los Angeles” as you tell me quietly how life has become too difficult. Your emails come scantily written and I read it slowly in the Internet café. I burn candles every night for your soul and spirit to remain intact, offering prayers to Chukwu as the candles burn softly, but you must call your mother. She needs to hear your voice, last week; I saw her kneeling alone in the church weeping.

The rain has come again, the road to her home is filled with potholes and water, the lines in the petrol station is long and everything is hard. Everyone around us is trying not to sink. You told me in your last email how you have had to scrap to send her money, every month, you send her enough to keep her body intact with her soul. You are a good child – she knows that.

I know America is difficult, I know you do not want to tell her how you sent me an email, telling me you cannot mourn the dead here, how your two jobs keep your rent paid; that school is almost over and you cannot wait to get your degree. I know I know you do not want to speak of these things to your mother. Still, she needs to hear your voice.
She needs to feel you’re alive in her bones.
Obiageli, I will tell her to expect your call.

Your father’s funeral went well.

By Ijeoma Umebinyuo


I am a writer and a recent author of my first collection of poems.
I was born and raised in Nigeria.

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