Part feral bone. Corrugated-iron sky. Part
plate waiting empty inside microwave.
In turn, part walking back from the old mailbox.
Not all poets let the rabbits in their poems escape.
Some leave the poem the way they found it. Purple finch
on tallest pine. Coffee with a friend who drags
along the weight of his student loans. Pretty girl who
says it won’t work if her dog doesn’t like you.
Some talk about their grandmas,
but would not write anything about them. Mine
died when I was in Ìbàdàn. That was the year I said
grief is an ad you cannot skip.
Some days all I think about is her hands. Hands
that worked craggy earth to give
her children the education she was denied. Weeks
after the funeral, her cats, hyphenated
by absence, leaned to absence. Can you build a grieving centre
inside a poem? Inside the centre the back of a crow. On the crow
a crow not quite yet a crow. Some nights all I have is the social
holiness of metaphors. Skim milk. February. Caked
boots. Clementines. A shelf panting with banned books.
The last essay says to avoid metaphors. The essay
is a void. Poets go to war. Some send polished dark green
words instead. Okigbo left Ìbàdàn for the war. Town-crier
with an iron bell, I sat with your words
in that library beside almond trees. Somewhere
right now is hot & an ice cream truck is gathering
neighbourhood children. The body knows but not enough
about what grows against window panes. Across the street
only the neck of a man, only snow underneath tyres.
So let what kisses the coral bells kiss mountain aloe kiss
trillium by the witch hazels. The way a home holds
long. Let silence cave. Further & in the description
below, let this be the polonaise set to a triple meter of lights.