Elegy from the Blue

with a line borrowed from Ojo Taiye


what will you sing if hunger abides in your blood?
ash pours back into the waters, this is the beginning
of grief. the body is part-salt, part-coal, part-grain, and
it sits at the heart of the water. there is an animal
for everything created by nature, and the hyena is the mark
of the sea. I mean to say that the sea tenders a slaughter
slab. the many sounds of the waters are warnings
encrypted upon the blue layers. let blue be made black,
and let black be the shadows shawled with eulogies. I cup
a handful of sea; my father’s ghost brews alongside
hundred others. I mean to say that water is a skull, and
there are many things to a skull.


a poem opens with hunger. last night, I ploughed my throat
into a scream. I confess this poem is about a swallow & the ash
is sealed with a fang. I let the images haunt, for what good is my life
without hieroglyphs? my tongue is put out like a sickle:
it pierces itself in silence. I mean to say that there will always be
a sea swimming into my sleep. the ungovernable awakens me.
don’t ask me if I drowned in my dream. it is too early to be
bruised by the voices of my mistaking. I mistook poetry
for communion: let grief be shared as bread. let the metaphors
be drank as wine. let us be drunk: we have enough poetry
for a lifetime.

© 2020 by Wale Ayinla

About the Author

By Wale Ayinla

Wale Ayinla is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and editor. He is a Best of the Net and Best New Poets Award nominee, and his works appear or are forthcoming on Guernica, Flapper House, Temz Review, Palette Poetry, Connotations Press, Waccamaw, and elsewhere. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter.