Ojo Taiye

“A Nomad’s Worry” and “Time Passes”

ISSUE 100 | HOLES | JUL 2022

Almagul Menlibayeva, French Kiss, 2008

A Nomad’s Worry

Rain at this time of the year is always
A surprise. Your small birds come & go,
And all I can hear are their wingbeats.
I can’t keep my dreams in, they pour out
Of the hole in your bed. The earth still smells
Of last night’s rain. How your cows make me
Squeal with joy. It’s enough to look back at the
Past, that moment in June, when all you do is sit
On the back row of chairs in the village hall, your
Arms folded, listening to the extension agent read
About strange weather, land degradation and peace
. I know the dead can haunt the living with-
Out relenting. Sometimes I imagine seeing you again:
My eyes are always turning towards the kitchen door.
Are you watching as I prepare your favorite boxty?
I think it’s okay to grieve what we’ve lost. The comfort
Of laughter. Of Speech. How each morning that comes
reminds me of my cardinal needs: the taste of your lips,
The touch of my hands, & the gift of love in your lap,
Ranging just short of mercy. My body throbbing like a
Moon in your knotted arms. How glorious your character.
Another man’s cum. Your smile loud with an insistence
For light. Nothing hems me like these flickers shearing through
The wedding album. Like a hymnal, I moan some more
With your name stuck in my throat—across the sea where we
Sink our feet and walk regardless into a pew more holy than
Saturday, an unlikely place to feature bodies willing to dig.

Time Passes

And I watch from our scorched shanty,
the beautiful dark river of wreckage.
Our storm-ridden homes covered in seaweed,
arranged sparsely like the first stanza of a bad
poem. At first, this lot allowed mangrove blessings;
the mysterious virtue of spring. Like the homing
pigeons pouring themselves in through the eaves,
it’s that hour of dusk when my mother, unable to
bear the sorrow, spits beauty onto my open palm
and I lie down beneath a yellow bulb and consider
how hard to search for a word to convey that what
is broken is broken forever and never find it.
Once, my father offered us his heart, not to mention
the sunshine and lavender plumes of silence.
I want to say: once again, each of us a narrative—
a partial dream—mechanical animals tied to the
fading light of memory. Today, marks ten years
since the flood that wretched my brother’s back
and mangled his ankles. Ten years since his body
became a stained glass, revealing the ancient
murmur rooted in the earth’s womb. I don’t
think I have ever written the word hunger,
but nothing else fits here.

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