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Elegy from the Blue

with a Line Borrowed from Ojo Taiye

i

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.

ii

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

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