What Is Deeper Than the Hole in My Heart?
Death walked into the euphoria of our home / gripped you with its sturdy hands & dragged you / to the shore / of transition / Father, the day you died / that night / rain hammered our rooftop / then, darkness came & spread its hazy countenance / I gazed at the tar sky / even the wind understood my anguish / tell me / what is deeper than the hole in my heart: this hole deeper than the abyss / My heart shatters / each time I remember you / wrapped in white / & the ground receiving your cold body with warm arms / Father / I stood there perplexed / like a child lost in the middle of a forest / wondering, now, what direction to take. You left me at a tender age / in this life / filled with cruel minds / my body, an egg / too fragile to receive grief / because grief is a hammer that shatters the world & spill its yolk to the ground / grief is an ice / too cold for my heart to take / My heart, a relic of bitter sweet memories / I can recall what you said to me / a toddler grows into strength by falling / and rising / when I’m gone / don’t succumb to the embrace of grief / peel it off like one peels a banana / “where are you going to, father?” I asked / a smiled curved on your lips / “to America” / I never knew you were trying to tell me / that death was already banging on your door.
JUNE 24TH, was the day death snatched you from me / then, the memory of your words flooded into my mind like a river.
a boy stole a piece of snack from a shop / one blazing hot afternoon, in a place where many eyes / see and pretend / the boy / forgot that the street is teethed with mobs / waiting to devour / a prey with fists / they pounced on him like a pack of jackals / clawed his body; battered his bones; bathed his body with petrol as a rite to fire / they did not take his tongue, they took what was left of life from language / his mouth opening into hollow words / what is hunger if not a living betrayal? / the boy / a lonely son of a malignant street / his body set ablaze / the fire lull him fiercely to sleep.
you’re one of the mobs / you speak the brutal language of murder / on your way home / death finds you in the body of a truck / & smeared your blood on the road / see, isn’t life an equilibrium justice? Vain in pursuit-every man running towards his own end.
The Land Is a Synonym for Grief
& The land’s heart is a garden of lost beauty / its walls are tattooed with scars / it used to be a gallery of beauteous memories. The land / a gun with malignant bullets / that fires turbulence / in the face of air.
The land sprinkles grief on many / like plants drowning in water. The belly of the land is engulfed with ruthless predators that annihilate dreams. Isn’t the land a saboteur?
When there’s mayhem in the land / it becomes a bloodbath / peace becomes scarce in the air / every night / I look through the window / to see how many stars are left in the sky / in life / every person has a star / it’s very hard to hide my tears / my eyes / red like blood / the land’s bane stifles our lungs / the wind carries the wailing of innocent souls. In the land / the blood of the innocent wet the ground / where everyone pace with fear / loss eats the ecstasy of many homes / somewhere, a wife is waiting for a miracle / to bring back her husband / whose body already housed worms.
I always say a prayer / that the wounded hearts in the land / heal like a bird leaping out of an injury / but / will praying their hearts heal / obliterate the chronicles of death in the land? The land / a garden of trauma / a kitchen for cooking burning dreams / a synonym for grief.
Salami Alimot Temitope (she/her) is an emerging Nigerian writer, and currently a student of Lagos State University, Nigeria. Her works explore themes on life, grief, loss and family. Her creative work has appeared, or are forthcoming, on Brittle Paper, Arts Lounge, Terror House Magazine, Shortlisted in Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest August/September, Kalahari Review, Pawners Paper, Nymphs, Nnoko Stories Magazine, The Hearth Magazine, Naija Readers’ Buffet and elsewhere. She says hi on Twitter @lyma_lami