Understanding leukemia – A Prose Poem by Ayobami Kayode

Understanding leukemia

I understand the frailty of these cells, the gasping of this blood that flows and stops like fluids in a drip. This body is no longer a home, it’s a shadow sniffing the aura of death. This body, shrinking, melting like gold in a furnace. How do I forgive the blacksmith that made my head his workshop, forgiveness isn’t for a man that beats gong in another man’s head – call it wickedness, call it a life bereft of mercy, call it an infant with no history of sleeping in a cradle, a child with no history of listening to lullaby. 

This body is a skeleton medical students fondle, maybe to replace dying cells with red moon, with bright stars. These bones are so tender, ready to break into a number of sands in Sokoto, in Egypt. What’s left of my hair defines the air in my lungs. To call out a betrayal is to call out my bone marrow –  gallows threatening my existence. Every night, my pyjamas turn into swimming trunks as I drown in a pool of sweat.

Dr. Brown says my lymph node swells so bad, like a sore on a mad man’s back. He says i need a soldier, whose name is chemo, to make my body a place for living things. 

The four walls of this room smell of antiseptic, maybe insulin. And i want to scream so hard, sending echoes on errands. Telling this world that it’s done enough, that there’s not enough platelets to clot my blood – But how do I scream when nausea basks joyfully in my larynx?

A neighbor once visited me in the hospital, sitting by my side, caressing my pale skin like a mother would do an infant’s, she said, “i bring you fruits and veggies. Hakeemah, even though you go through pains, and I do not know how torturous your world is, but you give meaning to life.” i don’t know the depth of this statement, but it is a balm to my sprained muscles, it’s forever soothing.

Ayobami Kayode is a student of literature in English interested in writing and academics. His works have been published in konya shamsrumi, punocracy, àtẹ́lẹwọ́, BBPC anthology and elsewhere. He was the second runner up in the Green Write Poetry Contest (2021), made the honorable mention for the whispering crescent short story, and poetry category (2020, 2021), made the long-list for the punocracy prize for satire (2019, 2020), his poem “A WORLD OF STIFFNESS” was long-listed among the Top 60 entries of the Nigerian students poetry prize, 2020. When not studying, he is experimenting writing styles on diverse aspects. He is the Interviews Lead of Book O’Clock Review and the editor in chief of The Poetry CLUB UDUS. He hails from Oyo, Ibadan. Nigeria. Twitter: @AyobamiKayode15

Art: Sea-Spot, a VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (2021) Twitter: @frede_kenter

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close