Nigerian Ode for Past & Future Patriots
True romantics leave their countries never
to return. So, darling, let’s exile ourselves
to the dark where desire is a boat
waiting to ferry us elsewhere
far-reaching than the thrust towards God
& other G-spots. Let there be calm-
your feet, God’s own, defying the physics of water-
our days already spent observing the world
observe us, the stars breathing down our own neck
of night like a thousand long needles of light
piercing a pitch dark room
from a thousand pores in the roof.
Let the storms come for us, love, let them come.
By our sweet harness of tongue & hands, of bite & more
hands, our boat docked & destroyed
not by the treachery of sea-the sea with more dead
than even death can account for.
Let nothing but our bodies anchor us
no more to the world than to the proof
that for a drowning man everything is a life raft
& only waves, in their thrashing, eventually find land.
Let this be the trout’s show of arrogance
to the dagger pulling from its guts the river-
that if arrogance is freedom, & freedom the flame
we would raze to the ground the firewood of the earth
the meek inherit six feet below or less.
Let it be our white sail of no surrender, your lingerie
ripped from your skin & hoisted between my teeth.
A flag, rooted to a spot, goes nowhere
but where the wind finds it.
JK Anowe, Igbo-born poet, is author of the poetry chapbooks Sky Raining Fists (Madhouse Press, 2019) and The Ikemefuna Tributaries: a parable for paranoia (Praxis Magazine Online, 2016). He’s an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Purdue University.