is a writer and poet of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his works appear or are forthcoming in Cypress, Blue Marble Review, Giallo Lit, Glass Poetry, Ice Floe Press, Kalahari Review, Rising Phoenix Review, and elsewhere. He’s a 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Finalist, and he was also shortlisted for the Babishai 2020 Haiku Award and the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2020. He’s currently an undergrad at the University of Benin, and he’s a prose reader for Chestnut Review. Find him on Instagram/Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.
After Three Months Of Aloneness, My Mother Unloads Her Worries
(after The Chaos of Distance)
In the copiousness of the night breeze & the presence of the dusky sky & lucid stars,
I sit on a wooden bench & peruse a succinct WhatsApp message from my mother.
Pray this pandemic ends soon. I have never been away from my family this long.
I have never been away from my family. Please, pray.
In the rhythm of her words, I see a balloon floating in an empty sky. I see a
lonesome bird with trimmed wings, unable to fly, cut off its flock. Some days ago,
a peek into my father’s room & I caught him modeling as a log, unwilling to flirt
with the spacious bed. His palms tucked inflexibly in his armpits. One trip before
the world stood still & now his other half is barred, ripped from his reach by an expanse.
I think of the last time I prayed. The memory is misty, like the dusty & dry wind
of the last harmattan season. With the liberation of air, from my mouth, hands clinched
& eyes sealed, I suppliantly tender a request for a turnaround, to God.
interwoven in a district
the closing-puncture in my right index finger swipes my sight for a moment & I permit it.
inside, a splinter lays, like an offspring in the belly of a breeding mother.
remove it & stop whining, my mother unfurled her lips that day, then faded
into the kitchen. now, a day has rolled by & my skin is stretching, the wood still
within. I thumbed the spot, tenderly, & in that expanse of seconds,
you could misname my fingers as two lovers, fondling. I wince & shiver
when I press too hard, pain & pleasure, interwoven in a district. there’s something
alluring about aching that cripples any musing of recovery. & so I sunk in it, thumbing
& thumbing, shivering & shivering. the sun recedes from the splaying sky & I find
myself before the frothing sink, my right palm osculating dishes in my left palm
with a sponge. like a sprung hunter’s snare, my mind traps a revelation—
the prickling in my finger had ceased, like a candle light puffed out by a sturdy wind.