Two Poems by Ariyo Ahmad

The Last Psalm of a Boy’s Body

Nightly, I pluck orange moon to search my black body for where God planted joy—to uproot where grief concealed the seed of sour sadness. / My body is a black raven, roaming in the spacious sky of this room, hitting through the wind, planting melodies to towns whose noses have long been confiscated of grief. The taste of my sweat is like a bile, warm like the feeling of welcoming a newborn, birth lifeless, my sweat has blinded every bud that knows sweetness / I am a boy with sad eyes, singing sad songs, like a bird drenched in the acidic rain, for the sad country in my body, care-less on how a boy carries his dream along with his body. / How do I swallow the memory of how my father breaks into particles? How his soul failed to be the subject of his body, how to cut the scene of his death that each poem I write will not abuse God for helping him pour into the mouth of the land—my mother owned a new body of grief after his death, she curses every grief screaming into her head every night, I still feel the throbbing spirit of my father kissing this room and I don’t have the eyes of a dog to see the spirit of my father.


I begin this poem like Fajr prayer, that I may espy another day, as night pathed me to sleep,

The way rain cracks open the cloud and blesses the barren land with opium

of Allah’s grace / September rain morphed into a river, ejected dead bodies and

left at the oesophagus of the river / vultures hovering above the sky before descending to feast.

I was present as the first witness after my father was swallowed by a hole

On the road of his thoughts / seeing his body drives hounds of fear into me, till I tremble

Like a Baobab tree in the hands of thunder / my mother’s body snapped like a tired tree

branch after knowledge of my father’s death fell into her ears like tots

of feathers into a river, from a richly-plumed bird, voices melding into a chorus of elegy.

I began to fret like a paper-plane receding into the lungs of a river after occasioning the loss.

In the places I have been, suffering was in the beauty of everything & a city is a vast network

of thoughts / life throws stones at me but love and dream translates them

into flowers of discovery. Night was enchanted with mist. In them, I have occasioned pure

landscapes of joy, atmosphere of bliss, where I see angels with rainbow wings, upward rush

of their light slides into an avalanche of invisibility

& with ablution I baptize myself of grief.

Ariyo Ahmad is a Nigerian poet, from Ogun state. He has poems published on Shallow Tales Review, Kissing Dynamite, Brittle Paper, Art Lounge, Kalahari Review, Rigorous, African Writers, Ninsha Art, Farrago Magazine, Nymphs Publication, Words and Whispers and others. He was a honorable mention in the Fitrah Review contest poetry category (2021), Shortlisted for Brigitte Poetry Contest June/ July and the Poetry Editor for Fiery Scribe Review. Find him on Twitter @ahmad_akanni.

Art: Raven in the Sun, by Robert Frede Kenter (c) (2022). Twitter: @frede_kenter.

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