It was the distance between skin & bone; big, this country their tears covered. There was rainfall on his tongue & trees quivered in the storm of his silence. He wandered every graveyard of her dreams, haunted by each hour striking. The striking of a match stirred the darkness & their shadows wavered in the mirage of life, touching & parting like running paint, like oil & water. He wanted to see her face, to know her again. Her eyes drank the journey between them as thirsty as a drunk during Lent. He knew he trekked the thistles & thorns between them but the bulwark of her arms was before him, rifling through his confidence, pilfering his guts like air on the bosom of a tree in harmattan. It was the asphalt between start & finish, where love hovered like the Holy Ghost, where he was & she was but together was not. It was walking away from promises shattered on the floor of their many wars. It was the silence of the anguish, stifled at birth, stifled at death. It was the decay of hate, the solidifying of nonchalance, the withdrawal of knives from flesh, the sheathing of wounds in the gloves of goodbye. It was dealing with alone, with after, with forgetting. Yet above, among the trees, sparrows made promises to others.
CALL ME HOLY
Call me miracle. I cough blood into the fist of wind & it is rain. Yes, call me saint; I have arrived before purgatory time & time again & its doorknob has flaked off like rust. Just yesterday, I was crushed on the asphalt of desire, my hands quivering in the death throes of acquiescence. Call me hellfire—three airplanes spitting missiles into hamlets filled with roasting corn & laughter of babies still chewing teeth. Call me god, any god, any worshippable thing. I have been moulded, a beautiful temple, fed with flowers, fire & blood. Yesterday, I spat between her thighs— ablution—& undressed the crown of her thorns. Call me lover & I am her beggar too, on my knees, my lips a bowl of need. Yes, call me a flower blooming in the drunken whistle of harmattan. I fear no element except gold, killer of little ones. Call me priest raising the incense of my voice into the deepest pit of any wall’s shadow. I piss on the many graves of men without wings. Call me a miracle, I concur. I will turn water into wine, smoke into fire, paper into tree. Call me something holy, some- thing that this white God will love & be gracious upon.
Osahon Oka is a bini/Kwale poet who enjoys playing with form and ideas. He considers writing to be an experiment with language. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming on Jalada Africa, Icefloe Press, Litbreak Magazine, Afreecan Read and elsewhere. He is the lead correspondent at Praxis Magazine for Arts and Literature. He can be reached on twitter: @osahonoka.