The Persistence of Memory & Other Poems
I am losing myself in all the languages of the world
I say khasara in Arabic, you say loss in English but
the finality of this is still felt on both of our tongues.
Again, it is Friday & I am torn between drowning
myself in Wuduh & hiding in the depth of my lover’s skin
where no harm in the world can reach me. Astagfirullah.
The Imam asked How are you, Ameen? & instead of
saying I’m fine, I opened my mouth and said I’m burning
& this felt more appropriate than anything else that could
have come out of my mouth.
They said a Masjid appeared out of nowhere in a desert
in Algeria after a sandstorm; what miracle will make a home
of my body after this little bout of madness?
I say Kullu nafsin Dzaiqotul Maut but what I mean to say is
I am tired and I am looking for an easy way out.
I am losing myself in all the languages of the world,
& right in the middle of all these, here I am, still burning.
The Persistence of Memory
I remember the radio playing static
in the background when the first of
the hornets came. I remember you,
& me, & the world burning in orange
flames as the weight of our lies crushed
everything into powdered dust. I remember
the musical rhythm of the rain pattering
on the overhang as we watched the redness
of the sun swallow our innocence whole. I remember
the animal of our skins running wildly into
the trees as the summer heat burnt the nape
of our necks. I remember the hornets’ stings:
two on my head, one on my arm; a ritual
to mark the beginning of the end for me.
I remember the radio when the hornets came.
I remember you in orange flames; powdered dust.
I remember the rain, & the animal of our skins, &
the burnt nape of our necks. I remember the hornets’ stings;
a ritual marking the end for me. Again, I remember the radio.
The Fear of Water
This is not how this poem is supposed to start
& you know it. bloated, you shoot your hands
to the sky to touch the softness of god’s face;
to caress his cheeks & sing honey into the vastness
of his ears. bloated, you shoot your hands to the sky
like a barren tree begging something beautiful to grow
inside the emptiness in its head. this is not where
this poem is supposed to start & we both know it.
in the distance, a boy is rowing a boat & something new
is dying inside of you. bloated, you shoot your hands
to the sky to caress god’s face, knowing that a fisherman
will find your body when it is a little bit too late.
No, wait, this is not how this poem is supposed to end
& you know it.
Animashaun Ameen is a poet and essayist. His writings are mostly centred on memory, sexuality, and identity. His works have appeared/forthcoming in Salamander Mag, Native Skin, Roadrunner Review, Stone of Madness Press, Perhappened Magazine, TheDrinking Gourd, and elsewhere. He lives and writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Image by Samuel Girven on Unsplash