After Meeting You, I Dream of Us Burning
after “After Touching You, I Think Of Narcissus Drowning by Leila Chatti”
How loneliness is the blade that might undo me. Hungry
for warmth, a fire stretching in my body. Enter the
arms of a sunny day & you assent to a burn.
Even the roofs are aware. I have dreamed about
you, a lighter to my soul. I have succumbed to
your clutch, thirsty & fiery. How simply
you waltzed into my head, air inflowing
& brimming up a room. You conquer
my mind like the heatwave of Lagos.
You, summer that droughts any
appearance of gloom. I submerge
myself in you, a haven—a furnace of love.
written after the Lekki Massacre on October 20, 2020
after Daniel Borzutzky’s Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018
there is no flag that’ll shield you from the dispersion of bullets
there is no song that’ll impede darkness from descending
& receding light into memory
the shadows breathes death at us the vessels of darkness don uniforms
& sling demise into our body & deaden any pulse of hope
& bleed our future in trickles of crimson
look we’ve spoken & are speaking & our voices
have extended across the globe [like a tie around the neck]
just look at the stage
there is a man in white with a fervid grin carved across his face
I die every time I see the cadavers of youths
who thirsted for the appearance of light
not the promise of oblivion.
look we do not bear silence in our name
do not forget that bodies slumped [like fallen trees]
at the puncture of bullets
do not forget that the army deadened young voice
do not forget that the government is a knife plunging her citizens
pray loudly into the expanse for the undoing of darkness
the only air in this country is corruption
[& we will no longer breathe in death & breathe out life]
Praise Osawaru (he/him) is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his work appears or is forthcoming in FIYAH, Knights Library Magazine, The Hellebore, Rigorous Magazine, Lit Quarterly, and Roadrunner Review, among others. He was a finalist for the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2020, and he’s a recipient of the NF2W Poetry Scholarship. He’s a reader for both Barren Magazine and Chestnut Review, and he’s on Instagram & Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.