By Olumide Manuel
boy in a tarmac of bruises, rigid winds with sharp tips
washing off his scalp like a cinnabar of fresh amnesia.
raids of fright reminiscent of the grime of the bloodflood;
the residual of soiled platelets; banks of memory clot,
as well as the coordinates through it? boy, you survived.
remember? your brotherman didn’t. the wind took him
with a lip of an axe. you were a ferryman, remember?
a burnisher stilted in memories; a mirror of dark honesty;
a dream, born & stilled in photographed dirges.
listen to the thousand bees hived in your chest, a colony
long void of a queen. you are forever filled with honey,
and hurts, and the buzz of something not there.
when will this longing dry?
you’ve rinsed your mouth in its plasma;
warbirds leaving in droves across the rubicon of occult
colours; a fence of axes grinds into the midnight;
your tongue takes the shape of gillyflowers,
of what blooms after the bloom.
let’s retime the weeding of seagirt passion,
reaping nectar of tears from marrow shrubs;
a tremando of fear assailing an orchestra of grief.
what I see in your shadows is pure doom;
a collective puzzle of broken portraits. when a boy bleeds of war
and when a boy cries; which heals faster?
which memory is tucked in an undefined body,
sitting lost at the banks of the bloodflood?
the right answer is not obvious, and so is the dying.
Olumide Manuel is a Pushcart-nominated poet, an environmentalist, and a biology teacher from Nigeria. His poetry has been published/forthcoming in Twyckenham Notes, Feral Poetry, Uncanny Magazine, Agbowó Magazine, Magma Poetry, Sandstorm Journal, Sublunary Review, Ice Floe Press, Club Plum Literary Journal, ARTmosterrific Journal, Gigantic Sequins, Isele Magazine, Muse Pie Press, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere. He tweets @Olu_midemanuel