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Burning & Massacre | Praise Osawaru

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]

Biography

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.