from the editors

current issue

past issues



Follow UCityReview on Twitter



Hope Wabuke


Mouth II

if the center is to hold (lamentations)


when grandmother listens
     my mouth is alien
             foreign waters lapping at
                   a foreign shore

   i have only the language of
her conquerors

within, just one small island:
    khuhu, khuhu.

her name
  repeated, become
        a song


Return to list of poems

Mouth II

     I dream of
lions. They chase.
   Lurk below. Jump up
and climb. Kill. Me,
    I have never seen a live one.
 But my mother

    now she tells me
how the lions would prowl
    her village and attack.

The pythons also.

     It would take ten men to kill
each one. Which was worse?
    I ask her. It’s hard
to say, she tells me. With
    the lions you would find the dead

later. Mangled. Eaten.
    But you could tell whose body.
Parts could be buried. With
   the snakes, there would be nothing

left. Just questions.
    Another disappearance.


Return to list of poems

if the center is to hold (lamentations)

send me home
grandmother says

after one year in america.
i miss the orphans

the children of
my children

disappeared in the war.
send me home.

grandmother says
i do not want to die

in a foreign land.
send me home.

they are stealing
my  goats and chickens

my milk and my cows.
they are digging up my earth

my crops, my seed pulled up 
all broken, all destroyed.

send me home.
but father does not

and we do not
understand, kept silent

from anything
to do with that home

he will not
let us know.

Return to list of poems

Hope Wabuke has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Times Foundation, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women Writers, the Awesome Foundation, the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Arts Foundation, Cave Canem, and THREAD at Yale.  The author of the chapbook The Leaving, her work has been published in The Guardian, Guernica, The North American Review, Salamander Literary Journal, Ruminate Literary Journal, African Voices Magazine, Fjords Literary Journal, Literary Mama, Salon, Gawker, Ozy, Creative Nonfiction, The Hairpin, The Feminist Wire, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Magazine, Ms. Magazine online and others. A contributing editor at The Root, where she writes about literature of the global African diaspora She is also a founding board member of the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction and currently an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Return to list of poems

copyright 2010-2018 ucity review