Two Poems by Ella Otomewo

Traffic Lights

You watch the city serenely

crumble the binary

of Utopia and Dystopia,

and hear its humming 

as you walk and weave

between all those faces.

It somehow smells of loving, 

and loneliness, and loss.

All at once and not at all.

The Light at noon

is crisp, cold, cutting

through the smog.

You, still and silent,

notice the divinity 

of traffic lights.

A breeze has wound 

its way under your scarf 

and clutches you by the neck.

A book is flung out 

of a high building and caught 

by a swooping bird. 

You are both.


The language of hope is not a spoken one, 

It cannot be bound in books or shaped with hands. 

It is found in the small acts of resistance, 

In seemingly unremarkable human traits

Like kindness, and solidarity, and joy. 

The language of hope has never rippled delicately, 

It rolls like thunder, roars in wonder. 

Hope never cropped up easily. 

You were there with me when the storm hit. 

Here’s to hoping that it will clear the path to a new future. 

It’s the only reason we’re still here

It’s breath after you’ve been choking in fear. 

This poem is not me giving you permission, 

It is a call to action in a time when all we need is

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