a forlorn bird, brown eyes, dark-winged, falls from the sky. whiffs of loss spread across its beak, some of it good. a minute of stillness, & then it dies. my father passes away in the skin of a falcon.

once, at night, in a conversation, i asked my mother why she chose darkness over my father’s body, she replied, son, your father’s body is a pathway plunged into turmoil; a procession of strangers.

i walk into a country barefooted & i carry my grief in a sack. a boy learns to swallow a city when he falters before a testament of songs. my father’s body is a spectacle of dust, a blessing in the memory i once lived with.

time happens to everything: from the gloom that sinks the earth to haunt a dying child, to a firefly that replants itself away from a closed fist; from an owl that slips into the dawning of light to a wanderer that drifts from sleep into darkness, time happens to everything.

I return into a country of reject & I begin a poem with my mother’s words: son, your father’s body is a pathway plunged into turmoil; a procession of strangers.

Ayomide Festus is a Nigerian poet. His works have been published or are forthcoming in Ice Floe Press, Quality Poets Review, After the Pause, the Eriata Oribhabor monthly review of Poets in Nigeria, Misfit Magazine and elsewhere. Co-winner of WRR-CAPRECON Green Author Prize 2015, and a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He was shortlisted for the 2017 Chrysolite Team ranking. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. You can say hi on Twitter: @Ayomidefestus8.

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