By Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale:
Conversations About Grief & Survival
The night looks like the many things I lost before they died. The birds are not singing, they are silent like the deadness whispering into the ear of my window. I do not know why, we are always fighting a war bigger than our bodies. On my CL, a girl asked we say a word of prayer for her. The earth will be good to you & still autograph scar on your skin. I’m walking through my chaos. There are fewer trees & faces. Everyone is holding a question the size of the hollows in their eyes. Everything is travelling slower but faster than the speed of light. Somewhere, a broken dream was unbroken a second ago. Somewhere, a man walks out of his body, he is lost, he cannot find his voice, he’s now one with the wind & I cannot tame why. In the chapel of grief, everyone owns a seat. It may be a pet ran over by a car on a highway or a good companion of a toy caught in the cervix of a flame. You know, even inanimates got fates, life burn them too. Sometimes, it’s a place. You reminisce & your skin stretches into goosebumps. To boys like me, it’s the loss of our mother. It has made us soft with the universe. We think of flowers & hear our mother’s footfalls taking the first step into our bones. We call their names & they sneeze out of nothing in their greenest gestures. I’m telling you this so when you see me casting words at mirrors, at shadows & silhouettes, it’s because I’ve learnt to mourn in letters. Learnt to curl into a poem to hold the unseen & perturb the dead awake in metaphors. Learnt to arraigned healing from scrabbling dead memories. Learnt to create room for two in my dream, for nights when the chirping sound of a cricket is also me & my mother clinking glasses to what could have been. Tonight, my thought is the thumb of a tomb. Some things were buried before they stopped breathing. They slipped too fast off the edges of their souls. Tonight, my thought is the image of a ship carrying something weightier than himself- but not drowning. Some things will survive even on a needle edge. Tonight, my thought is my sister’s love for music on days God is without a face. I told you, we are always fighting a war bigger than our bodies. Tonight, my thought is the sonorous symphonies of nightingales in a city that is mourning into herself. These thoughts are full of themselves. They are spreading their tentacles across my room. & God is watching through a fractured lens & sipping wine & curling into the body of an angel the stature of a whirlwind at peace with the earth. He’s not weeping because I’m a god, a lower case of his aesthetics. & nothing breaks a god, not even the weight of his grief. Nothing kills a god whose time is a rose with floating cologne- like me, like you, like everything with a war on its inside. Again, I tell you, nothing kills a god on God’s palm pregnant with a dream & a seed because I grow tastier & wilder & deeper every time something tries to kill me & fail.
© Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale