Everything My Mother Failed to Misname- A Prose Poem by Timothy Ojo w/an image by Robynne Limoges

Everything My Mother Failed to Misname

“the most beautiful part of your body is wherever your mother’s shadow falls”
— ocean vuong

my body is a city that falls from my mother’s shoulders, a turnpike formed from her shadow mirroring the resilience that cascades from her stern gait. on some days, she is the receptacle of goodness which she doles out in àbàrá; i always thought God gave me to a woman who would granulate me with brain resetting knocks with quite the range — heck, sometimes, i believed i would grow up with jagged cranium, back with no-colours-hand-made graffiti; the type that reminds you of a journey, expressions of stop / do / get out/ if you laugh / do I have to remind you / if you like, eat / don’t you dare / sleep / get to your room now / how stupid / standing there eh?/  all done with a single stare – stuck with me.

my body was taught how to become a litany of lights when darkness tries to lurk — darkness comes at you as a form of light, sometimes — my body was taught how to burn ferrying opinions of unloving. my mother once told me she made a meal of her sacred body parts to a stranger  she would later tell me, she did it to protect me, further asking me to lock the memory in a casket. my mother taught me how not to allow to be drowned in my tears; she didn’t preach to me about my masculinity– she said something about no tenses for making grief disappear: “be vulnerable, ” she said. “never mask pain with strength, else it is sullied.”

today, every little thing i do has her what-would-she-have-done in it.


Timothy Ojo @TimothyOJO_ is a “Best of the Net 2020” Nominee, he has his works in Street Light Press, Perhappened, BurningJade, Kalahari Review, the winnow mag, Lumiere review and some others. He was longlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize in 2018. He is a co-editor with Shuzia mag. He is also an editor with Knights Mind Magazine, Michigan, USA. He feels blue skies are underrated.

Banner: Untitled, an image (c) by Robynne Limoges Tweets: @LimogesRobynne

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