Dilution is the cure for pain, so I paint a landscape of tears


By Anointing Obuh

This is how I remember my home downtown:
Flowers fisting together like a child[‘s]
hand, sprayed along the meagre journey
From the patio to my room.
The rain outside similar,
to my mother’s tired eyes in this painting, flowing estuary

Citadel of pain. A daughter could sometimes flow into an estuary
become eyes around the trees downtown.
At 25, I am painting something similar
to a girl staring out from the foliage. A child[‘s]
pair of eyes in the canvas on my room
window, reflecting the journey
[of earth to sky]

What if the rivers never wanted to journey?
[what if I never wanted to leave?]
& this estuary is just a stroke of paint that makes room
For others. Nondescript – like houses downtown,
the stark, misshapen face of a hungry child
& all other things I find similar,
[between this painting and myself]

For I inherited similar things from my mother through my journey
From petite hungry child
Into this adult with eyes silently forming a salty estuary
In remembrance of sprints in the downtown mall,
& hiding sugar in my room.

This color blue really makes room
for others with similar
tastes[like grief] Most houses downtown
are blue inside and out like the journey-
men uniforms. Blue like the estuary
Blue like the fingers of a cold child.

One day my mother called “child”
bared her face & showed me how much room
she had given the tears/water/estuary
Startling me with how much similar
Her ribs were to ropes spaced out like the doctor’s journey
through dusty roads downtown.

On this canvas lies an estuary on a child[‘s]
face. Blue enough to communicate longing
for missing my downtown room.
Watch it stop hanging on the window,
Its crisp weight cradled by the wind;
Its muted colors mirroring my life’s freefalling journey.


Anointing Obuh is a writer, singer and photographer. A Best of the Net nominee, her works are forthcoming and have been featured in Blue Marble review, Rattle, Minerallit mag, Honey and Lime Lit, Barren magazine and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the NF2W9 2020 poetry scholarship. She is @TherealAnniekay on Twitter and @realanniekay on Instagram. She says Hello.