Two Poems -Ayomide Festus

My Mother Washes Her Grief Ashore

a flower grows in a dark room
where my father’s body finds a resting place.

i tell you, everything around me is fading.
the way to hold a body dry is to set it on fire.

i wake up into an empty cathedral
where my mother’s face is an anthology of pain.

i want to crawl up the bed in my father’s absence,
array myself in a coat the variance of grief

fingerlings like sea songs gather,
begin a requiem from my mother’s eyes—

she bears the image of a broken girl
searching for a lover’s body to dissolve into.

in this alliance of loss, 7 years ago,
my father’s body became a monument of silence.

my mother walks a long distance in search of
scars, & to name her loneliness,

she finds another body at the bank
of the ocean; a reinvention:

grief is the countenance we wear when
sunset arrives abruptly.

The Thing That Trudges Me After a Cold Eventide

two bottles of liquor, plain white, hang in silence
like the conversation you’d hear in a graveyard.
their skin peels off & alter the future in my song,
a lyrical gloom, & the devotion of pain.
i wake up into a new body, absent from myself,
the thing that trudges me reaches for an unfamiliar direction;
an unburning of the impulse beneath my navel.
my tongue is a city of blood, a tethering of dream.
Mónkele says, endure burning & give light
but ghosts do not speak so i taste a cup of light;
a flash on a night of grief.
a documentary about bad behaviour begins
on the TV screen. a girl enters into my body
& finds a resting place. she had claws. long curly nails.
she liquefies into my dream, a distilling of all that i own.
this is my doom; a cloud condensing through a leaking roof
& my eyes gleaming through a broken mirror.
some nights, i do not know what poetry does to my body.
i dream of myself; a longing for the loneliness in my mouth.
other nights, i howl into the memories in your eye; my fist,
raging against the terror that calls me to feast.
I am here because i want a rebirth from the thing
that trudges me after a cold eventide.

Ayomide Festus, co-winner of WRR-CAPRECON Green Author’s Prize 2015, is a Nigerian writer and a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Ayomide was published in the Quality Poets Review and was also shortlisted in the 2017 Chrysolite team ranking. His works have appeared in the Eriata Oribhabor monthly review of Poets in Nigeria. Twitter: @AyomideFestus8

Banner: “A Detail from Tranquility” A VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021 Twitter: @frede_kenter

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