A handful of wonders, that’s what I am. A God’s gentle metaphor, crispy line stretching into stanzas, into poetry. The smallness of the ring that stretches into Solomon’s rare glory. An ocean of grace with a tiny opening. Some nights, I check the cadence of my cries to lower its sonority, say: “But cries are not to be enjoyed, God! Hear these plights instead.” Tonight, I back my lover and face God with a face paralleled with tears, saying: “God! Handle me with care.”
Use: he used me; she used me. Use: a flowery word reduced to thorns of deceit. But when God uses a man, He refurbishes the decaying piers of humanity through him. But who takes a yoghurt when it waxes. We shake it, a hard exercise towards a smooth, subtlety end. Sometimes when my sky is a blend of crimson and silhouette, I ask: “God! Are you trying to shake me well before use?” And my words echo back at me.
Some nights I work with Minkaheel as he changes the depth of the dark, hour after hour. Some nights I work with the Kirama katibin, turning back at Atid and guiding my steps to the notice of Raqib. But my heart, a beachcomber in the vastness of His presence. At times, I am a helium contesting flight with the Ruuhu: a brittle man finding meaning in life after exhuming from the chest of time the meaning of life. Some nights I am a stray cat folding on a foot-mat at the door of a tabernacle.
Some nights, I am a wanderer. Clutched to my bed yet my mind breaking borders like nocturnal birds. Tonight, I peep through the window to see the sky– starless, moonless, with no glee except the sheen of a stray cat’s eyes. In the morning, a dog will send haunting barks across the streets, his life punctuated by chain. In the morning, a sheep will stare on into nothingness. Only the cat finds bliss in the warmth of the universe. A legend says when the animals descended from the heavens, only the cat paid the toll fees. These words are not for the cats. They are for you. You whose heart melts, scared by his fate, like a cat’s eyes by night. You who is shaken into frustration, see, you’re only paying your dues.
Most times, there is no evil in what wrings out tears from man’s body. It is simply a good squeezing, producing juices from orange. Sometimes it’s a fine crushing, one that releases fragrance from flowers. I imagine a Joseph escaping the heat of dark well. I imagine his body escaping the stench of a prison wall. Maybe we’d only know a righteous Yusuf that’s not a king, that’s not touched by the regal of royalty. Beloved, stare. Stare into the eyes of that which scares you. Can you see a flood of light?
Taofeek “Aswagaawy” Ayeyemi is a Nigerian lawyer, writer and author of the chapbook Tongueless Secrets (Ethel Press, 2021) and a collection “aubade at night or serenade in the morning” (Flowersong Press, 2021). A BotN and Pushcart Prize Nominee, his works have appeared or forthcoming in Contemporary Verse 2, Lucent Dreaming, Ethel-zine, Up-the-Staircase Quarterly, FERAL, ARTmosterrific, Banyan Review, tinywords, the QuillS and elsewhere. He won the 2021 Loft Books Flash Fiction Competition, emerged 2nd Place in the 2021 Porter House Review Poetry Contest, and an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Ito En Oi Ochai Shin-Haiku Contest, the 2021 Oku-no-hosomichi Soka Matsubara Haiku Contest and the 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize among others. He is @Aswagaawy on Twitter