musings before a wake – A Poem by Michael Emmanuel

musings before a wake

grief is an inexhaustible resource
          i swank mine like a bridesmaid’s bouquet

the boy in my family’s photograph lugs
           a heartbreak the weight of history

the men at the remembrance
          ask why my arms are so slender
          why do i talk with a funny accent
          how did a boy carve flowers from
          my skin & why do i write about
          countries stuck in the throats of
          fatherless boys & why are my arms
          so slender & why are my eyes so
          white & why do i talk about grief
          like a girl talks about her husband’s
          mistress, what do i know to write poems
          about a boy who last week livestreamed
          his suicide

but the boy in my family’s photograph is
not a boy does not process this silence
bursting from his skin like aurora wiping
the mess of a drunkard’s slumber.

Michael Emmanuel is a publishing Editor at Itanile. He is a previous winner of the Shuzia Creative Writing Contest (2020) and the Quramo Writers Prize (2018). He was a finalist for the Awele Creative Trust Prize 2020 and the Stephen A. Dibiase Poetry Contest. His works have appeared in Kalahari Review, The African Writers Review, Afritondo, Jalada Mag, perhappened mag, and other places. He is on Twitter: @mikey_emmanuel.

Banner Art: “Carnations” a VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021 Twitter: @frede_kenter.

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