war baby & a song for mothers – the personifications of loss as it was written from the beginning. Or an attempt at the destruction of Eden where a girl means the opposite of Adam

for chang

i open & close yet another door after the first door that led us to the revolution broke:
a poet fondling his age with manuscripts that look like roses crushed by rejection.
a day-old rifle in his hands. i step into a rebel shuddering with violet fear.
the war babies, like gaunt cherubs, crowd him for a song. sing, they cry. music
is the bread they ask for. have us live by bread alone, they say, remembering
the times their dead mothers fed them on lullabies with feeding bottles. swift chariot,
sweet chariot, coming for us, coming to carry us home.
home being the absence of
the song of the bullets. home, the butt of a gun in the arms of a man. either way, i step into my own
awakening. a clearing where my mother watched as they shot a mother to the grave.
they left the baby on the beach because she’s a girl. make her ask piercingly for milk:
the history of oil writing…or a baby girl dreaming. the poetry is high. so ethereal it is
moon-close. here’s another uprising; my mother applying the sabbath day to her past.
flirts gorgeously with the day. awake, as she sleeps skipping such countries
she dreams about; the nations of asphyxiation marked with broken borders run
by Adam. she stretches a map to me. showing me where my father loved her most.
asking me to touch him right where Lagos burns with fires of estrangement, & feel her
satin for the old garden sorrow, then give her to a new name. we both study
the recurrent family history the kitchen passed on from mother to mother, the mesh
of a patriarchal blessing sort of. a lineal kind of progress. what does her star say
about enslavement? though i do not like to inherit an old astrology
class where Hawking taught from, with too many Gods in his mouth, i love old
things in new spaces. Alice’s disease is so new it becomes my transfiguration.
it is so much for a heart that bears the blood. so much for sin. so much for baptism,
in the need to believe in a holy conversion. be born again a lover of not the S letter
in girls, in synesthesia, & something for the sound from the colors of being
a newborn ready to let go of the marsh world of a father, then ascend into a belief
for the first time in eighteen years, in a local church almost a painting
of the celestial season, almost like the triumphant entry, that each of us carries
a bisexual heaven. she’s the prophecy, speaking from the past to the present
of a future without God, replaced, as it is done in a flash fiction with a character
swift to the touch. the priest, she, in that earnestness of error, calls for, plugs
a scream, without an instrument of sound, to sermons a thousand times read,
a thousand times not believed to be verses infested with Adam. it feels like
inexistence, or stale bread for the hundreds that hunger for augurs. a pew arises
from someone’s holy despair. & we have been standing for a thousand years,
for a moment’s miracle. a lady i know by how i see my destiny from such less
lofty height i cut, appears to be neither here nor there, singing with the babies
where the song is almost cramped with manifold angels, shocked to hear
themselves sing of what they know is impossible both on earth &
in their Sunday heavens. hail mary. pray for my mother for all the boys
she will make of me. forgive me for all the fathers i shall become. i pray back
the threat of sin. roaring from a sheep to drive the lions back to their lairs.
rest them on green leaves. & mother has faith in this agitation & her revenant.
she keeps asking me the same ancient question, where is Lagos located, in his heart?
suddenly, the shot mother like a ghost appears on the beach. takes her baby
& drowns herself in water. from altars to the unearthly, looking at my mother
& the God in her, which i did not see even before i was born a God nailed
to my own heavenly cross. the way the city expands with each changing promise.
the promise of fathering us, on which we lie down against the desire of the clearing,
i know by heart that i am to die the death of someone i do not know. & until my mother
is saved from the old story. until the city breaks him, i should have a thing & four
to believe in: the revolution, the moon, the glass dream knocking on my door,
& the war babies asking their mothers, what did our heavenly father who doesn’t like
to be seen say about the bisexual flowers?

Tares Oburumu is a lover of God and his daughter, Sasha. He writes from 25 kilometers away from the city of Warri, Nigeria. His works have appeared in Connotation Press, The Agonist, EXPOUND, Nantygreens, Naija Stories, Tuesday Poems, Ngiga Review, Agbowó, The Woven Tale Press and elsewhere.

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