Tempest in Bódìjà, Ìbàdàn

Flourish Joshua

By Flourish Joshua

we woo the winds bullying brown roofs
& hang them on baobabs to make

gentle evenings for fables that tickle
our buttocks to a dance. no one jumps

into the river except the land is a knife.
no one looks the sun in the face

except it rains misery. home holds
the remedy for our malady,

yet there is no sickler as home.
today, the hills are not gluttons hungry

to empty us into a bowl, they are
not dipsomaniacs on a luxury instinct

to get inebriated by our blood.
àdàbà listens to the music of the mountains—

they whistle & whistle till their song
is a valley. alápàǹdẹ̀dẹ̀ flaps her wings

in surrender, as if to treble clef
the shady eves. when it rains,

we know the sky has eaten more than
its belly can contain. when the sun

gives the earth a harsh smile, we know
it holds a grudge against us.

I see a deer obeying a hunter’s bullet,
dying the solfas in the mouth of the park.

atàpà springs its voice into the air,
malimbes assemble by the color

of their miracle. I see òwìwí hold a river
in its mouth, impatiently waiting

to serenade the night. I see a region
inside a region. a savannah inside

a savannah. a spring inside a spring.
I see. I see. I see until my face is a coast.

Flourish Joshua is a (performance) poet from Nigeria, a NaiWA poetry scholar, 2nd place winner of the 7th Ngozi Agbo Prize for Essay, finalist of the 2021 NO CONTACT Poetry Prize, Managing Editor at NRB, Interviews Editor at Eremite Poetry & Poetry Reader at Bluebird Review & Poetry Editor for LERIMS. He is published (or forthcoming) on London Grip Poetry, Miniskirt Magazine, East French Press, Olongo Africa, Ghost City Review, Brittle Paper, Bluebird Review, No Contact, and elsewhere. Say hello on Instagram/Twitter @fjspeaks.