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Calligraphy of Grief


Like antlion,

I am calligraphed in reverse.


In a dream, a dung-beetle rolls its miseries,

 & mistakes my body for a wasteland.


In my father’s tongue, jó means dance, or burn,

But every dance step I take burns me to ashes.


I mistaste my mother’s prayers, & terror

Scythes my tongue as a specimen of grief.


Màmá says, “Oluwa jẹ́ ki n bẹ.” God let me live.

But I ring Olúwa jẹ́ ki n bẹ́ into God’s hearing,


Meaning, God, let me sh  a  tt  e  r,  let me 

Grow as f/r/a/g/m/e/n/t/s of primeval debris.


That is: grief gazes at me like a familiar abode, &

Extends its limbs into the rooms of my body;


That is: inside me, there is a forest of tremor, where

Every flower droops upon the memories of my childhood.

ARIKEWUSOLA ABDUL AWAL is a student of English and Literary Studies at Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming on Afritondo, Eunoia Review, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Spillwords, Sprinng, and elsewhere. He enjoys looking at the full moon.

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