In Which I Desire My Mother’s Embrace – A Poem by Adedayo Agarau w/a painting by Moira J. Saucer

In Which I Desire My Mother’s Embrace

for adebisi

be good to me, she once whispered in prayer.
i write this poem to the country welling in
a body, the lakes & skies, the owls & nights,
be good to me, she once whispered in prayer.
i write this poem to the country welling in
a body, the lakes & skies, the owls & nights,
the ribcage ripped open by desires for touch,
the empty beds, the fallowed heart, the night
we would press our ears against the walls, my
brother & i, praying stillness into our mother’s
heartache. i know a mother when i see one, their eyes
gleaming with arrowed stars, their bodies tinged
with wants. the libation poured from a hungry
tongue upon a child’s head. a mother is almost
synonymous to prayer. & i praise Rebecca
for putting skin over skin to find blessings for
Jacob. her hands taught mine to knife a chicken’s
throat, taught to wait the night out of supplication, taught
to hold a brother the way the sky grips the clouds,
the way i will hold her when she returns from this
journey. God be good to my desires, be good.

Adedayo Agarau’s chapbook, Origin of Names, was selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for New Generation African Poet (African Poetry Book Fund), 2020.  He is a human nutritionist, documentary photographer, and author of two chapbooks, For Boys Who Went & The Arrival of Rain. Adedayo was shortlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize in 2018, Runner up of the Sehvage Poetry Prize, 2019. Adedayo is an Editor at IceFloe, Assistant Editor at Animal Heart Press, a Contributing Editor for Poetry at Barren Magazine, and a Poetry reader at Feral. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Agbowo, Glass Poetry, Mineral Lit, Ice Floe, Ghost City, Temz, Linden Avenue, Headway Lit, The Shore Poetry, Giallo, and elsewhere. Adedayo was said to have curated and edited the biggest poetry anthology by Nigerian poets, Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry. You can find him on Twitter @adedayo_agarau or at agarauadedayo.com  

Banner Art: Somewhere the night is always singing, soft pastel painting, Moira J. Saucer. Inspired by a night sky photo shot of Nairobi, Kenya by photographer Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals). Tweets: @MJSEyesopened

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