top of page
Meet the author:
Daniel Orisaeke

‘I wonder if my tears segregate, seeking absolution. I resurrect a new creature—made whole but the sourness lingers.’ These verses allude to making, unmaking, loss, grief and perhaps rebuilding – but not as a clean break from the past. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the poem?

The inspiration behind this poem was actually a theme from my writer’s community in school here, NWOKIKE. We were asked to write a poem on the theme of Ritual, and this was how this poem was birthed. I would say part of the inspiration was retrospected to the emotion I was feeling then. It was quite a rough period for me, and I felt stagnant and I needed to move on. As a Christian, we are told that ‘baptism’ is a form of  ‘newness of life’  and I needed some sort of ‘newness’ from the tempest within me, and the struggle is evident.


The poem enacts a passage of time – from watching the sun set, to rebuilding, to still sensing the sour taste in the mouth even after minutes have gone by. What experiences, personal or otherwise led you to think about time as an imagery, or time as the language of being?

Oh, there are quite a lot of personal experiences in my life that have driven me to see time as an imagery or language of being. When we think of time, we tend to associate it with specific images, some might be conjured from the bright or dark parts of our mind, while some are events that occurred within that period of time. Time as a language of being is just a conduit for drawing out memories and actualising the past and present. It’s practically the hallmark of our existence.

What do you want our readers to take away from the poem, especially as your use of ‘I’ pulls them in immediately?

The beauty of poetry is that there’s a million interpretations/visages to it. What I get from a particular poem can be different from what you’ll get when you read it but if there’s one thing I’d like the readers to take from my poem, it is the light in it. I know there’s a particular light, no matter how dim or fractured it seems. I’d love for them to have it too.

For me, the ‘Otherwise’ your poem alludes to is messy, ambivalent and not a clean break from the past that refuses to leave. How does your poem speak to the possibility of this ‘otherwise’? What do you imagine as an ‘otherwise’? 

Sometimes, we try our best to purge ourselves from the past, memories or certain mistakes made but unfortunately, they are part of us. Like you’d see in the last line of the poem, but the sourness lingers. This is the ‘otherwise’. In my quest for ‘newness’, there’s a contradiction in which I know that the past is a shard of myself no matter how hard I try to flee from it. I imagine ‘otherwise’ as an alternate scenario or a juxtaposition to what has been previously stated. An antonym of one’s self basically.


Daniel Orisaeke (he/him) is a poet and a dental student in the University of Nigeria, Enugu. He’s a lover of evening strolls, music, rain, stargazing and the mystery of small things in the universe.

  • Twitter

Read Daniel Orisaeke's poem I die like waves

in the Bodies issue

This interview was conducted by Otherwise fiction and non-fiction editor Niharika Pandit.

bottom of page