the passport

the passport

Today’s poem was inspired by a conversation I had with my mother earlier this week. I knew her immigration story from Nigeria to the United States, but what I didn’t know was the story she told of applying for her first passport. I didn’t know what it was like for her to hold that in her hand and to also connect the dots and see the possibilities that were about to open up for her. This poem is for my mother. Thank you for applying for your first passport.


#NaPoWriMo Day 14

the passport

my mother never knew just what it felt like
to hold one
the smooth slightly pebbled jacket
the anemic yet sturdy spine
for the first time
she held her future
she took that spine
and built a whole back
for her children to stand up

a poem for Maya Angelou, may 28th, 2014

a poem for Maya Angelou, may 28th, 2014


I  was only 12

when my mother came to me

with your book of poetry

and all i could do

was hide in my room

and read it




I did not know what

a Phenomenal Woman was

but later when I said

I want to be a poet

at least my mother knew

what that could look like

at least my mother knew

poets made books that made

children believe they could make themselves




Just the way you look at me

those straight shot no mess eyes

insist that I

put all of me out there

for the world to see



I  was only 12

when my mother handed me your book

which was her way of telling me

it’s okay to be a girl

to be an African girl

and try to be somebody


© 2014 Uchechi Kalu