Four Poems by Pamílèrín Jacob

Disillusionment Sutra

The smallest unit of hope
is fantasy—

I am wishing again for peace
though the razor, some minutes
ago, was pulled out of my right thigh,
stained. I

want to believe
loneliness, gutted, will reveal
the primacy of devotion, that
the body, in the absence of hands
holds itself. But look,

all this red, I am cordial with
disillusionment. Sometimes, all

a metaphor does is sharpen grief
or give it a new name. The truth is

all my life, even as I hewed
my childhood out of its innocence

I was a captive of tenderness
but mistook its shimmering
for the backside of an elegy.

The Sutra on Paternal Yearning

Always, I try to touch my father
but it is his religion I grasp, the insides
of his psalms, & benedictions.

My wet, tired, arms. It is their duty
to translate thunderous amens to warmth,

to echolocate his face, his mouth
with which he saved me from suffocation

as a child, sucked catarrh, death
out my nostrils. Years of many griefs glisten

in my palms like millipedes, squirm.
I must grow into something carefree

capable of loving him wholly, for though
in the same house, we eat, laugh, pray

we have not wept together. We
have not shown each other slivers

of the dark we carry in our pockets.

The Sutra on Creed

Too often, I have looked at God
through the keyhole of a book, &
sermons, ignoring the majesty of experience.

From where I am, the underbelly of silence
inseparable from everything holy, I witness
the sheen of stillness. My father, instead of I love

you says, you are blessed, over & over &
over, & I know he means I love you so much,
I would feed you my eyes were we caught

in a famine.
Perhaps, God’s quiet works
as such. So still, it wrecks our bones.
You should build a life out of astonishment.

Not doctrine nor creed. Instead of searching for
God, it is the waiting of pupas I choose. Seated
mindfully in the pith of sorrow until my father’s

prayers hack into me, & I bleed blessedness.

The Shape of Delirium

Instead of orgasms, I have headaches.
My Zoloft pill, yellower than the sun.

Footprints in the sky, a pair of whistling
stockings: evidences of a blooming delirium
native to my bloodstream. Soon

the cats on my mug will begin
to meow, & again my soul will riot

against common sense. It happens like
this: day after day, I reach for the centre

of the whirlpool, & instead of clarity,
I find an arrow.

Pamílèrín Jacob is a Nigerian poet whose poems have appeared in Barren Magazine, Elsieisy, Poetry Potion, Ghost City Press & elsewhere. He was the second runner-up for Sevhage Poetry Prize 2019. Author of the chapbook, Gospels of Depression; reach him on Twitter @pamilerinjacob.

Banner: Rays of Light by Robert Frede Kenter.

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