Adisa, or, A Poem in Which I Wear My Father’s Skin
tonight, i am the spilled blood
of sacrificial rams floating on the body of earth;
a vain word doesn’t make it home to my
squirrel’s ears; i wear life around my neck
like father’s rosary & fasten death around
my waist like the jaw of a halved snake.
by this i mean i am a sky whose body
is scarred by the footsteps of day & night,
an earth whose skin carries
the map of harmattan & the jabs of rain.
a garden of lion’s mouth grows from my chest &
i become a confab of bees, a fanfare of worms,
a hosier holding life with the tip of his fingers.
this is what it means to have a heart
the size of temple or tabernacle. a baby’s cry
paints the image of father’s restlessness in my mind.
i look through the window but father’s ghost
has already lifted the boy into his cold arms.
my lover asked what’s my best loss &
i mentioned father’s middle name.
a brief meditation on survival
at times we depart friends to go home for lunch,
& what is lunch if not a plate of poem & a cup of another.
at times we become a torpid snail &
mask our weaknesses with a fabric of smiles.
at times we go to bed & wake to making a journal
of our dreams on a roach-eaten paper.
i imagine our mouths as the band of skylarks
& our gathering the conference of praying mantises.
i imagine a place where the sky is our umbrella,
protecting us from the tempest of our past.
i imagine us at the end of a rope,
pulling our future lest it flies away.
& we become a bundle of foolscap sheet
stained by the hands of time, a pieces of
broken chain stitched back into valor with iron,
a thread broken at wherever side & angle it wishes.
hustle is hustle, forlorn is a bird returning with filled
mouth & protruded belly encumbering its blistered limbs.
& survival is a pair of wings folding & stretching
into flight; but man imagines, god happens.
Taofeek Ayeyemi (fondly called Aswagaawy) is a Nigerian lawyer and writer whose works have appeared in Lucent Dreaming, Ethel-zine, The Pangolin Review, hedgerow, the QuillS, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, cho and elsewhere. He won Honorable Mention Prize, 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest and 2nd Prize, 2016 Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize.