Brown Paper – A Poem by Sadiq Abdulsalam Adeiza

Brown Paper

i leafed through father’s old journal,
in search of answers i will never find.
do you know what i hate?
i hate how everyone celebrates dawn when
it arrives, then forget to tell you how persistent
the dark can be; how it pursues the daylight
in a relentless mien, and how it almost always
catches up with it.
i understand now that depression fights back,
like a dog, like a virus, for territory. for control.
i understand that most people are ill-prepared.
so as i flipped through the brown papered pages
for some paternal wisdom – an amazing grace.
i was not expectant.
father’s neat handwriting and delicate font –
a cross between Times New Roman and Gotham,
detailed surgical procedures from his theatre days,
as well as highlight reels of trips to villages
with unusual names, and some attempts at poetry;

                  cut, incise, excise, repeat.
                   if only it is that smooth.
                  fight, victory, flee, defeat.
                   if only it is that easy.

the sound of footfalls only grew louder,
negatively charged thoughts pounded away
at the hinges of my mind,
a cascade of electrons waiting to tumble.
but i found two words circled at the bottom
of page 357 – a number as random as the word,
harbourage –
             breathe    &      slow
       and in those two circles, i found some safety.

Sadiq Abdulsalam Adeiza’s work has been featured in The Shallow Tales Review, Feral: A journal of poetry and art, Memento: An anthology of contemporary Nigerian Poetry,  African Writer Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Brass: An anthology of contemporary literature and elsewhere. Twitter: @hibreedz

Banner: Between. A Digital Image (c) 2021 by Robert Frede Kenter Twitter: @frede_kenter

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