Two Poems

Adedayo Agarau

A Poetry Cover Of Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die in Which I am Ghost Haunting My Father’s New Home

But tell me a story that did not begin with love. — Aracelis Girmay

i watch my mother’s sea eyes
as everything settles in the turbulence of her body
as a good child, i put my faith between my palms
                        & rub them together

who is on your side when you are at war
            i am with everyone in this room
our still shadows itching to jump out of fire
                                    my mother is waiting for her husband
& i for my father
a bird outside our house is singing of the way a flower opens
                        everything is Babylon until a wall, like my mother,
is crumbling
            & my father is inside the yellow laps of another woman
stirring her children’s custard, mixing their milk
laughing loud like a hysterical hyena at dry jokes

as a good child,
            i ask god to bring him back
ask the angels to turn his heels towards the shore
i hear him drowning in his dream
i also hear my mother’s throat screeching
sometimes i think my mother says he loves me like
                        he wolfs me     & the silk of her skin
becomes that of a vulnerable lamb spread over an altar

sing to me of their first kiss
the miracle of hands reaching for the church behind her head
& the lonely choristers of my father’s demons panting in silence
mellowing the woods of his anguish into a still child
a mannequin & a haunted doll, his veins strings of an unsung trauma

i think i know what they leave; i think magic is sometimes a mirage
my mother turning amala with her spatula, my sister’s shadow
standing over her like God’s banner
the little songs they sing together as i write an essay about happiness

the first time i saw him push her into the couch
before landing a fist into her neck
                       i hid in my room & cried
the second time, i smashed a glass cup into the wall
that way, God will know anger is synonymous to brokenness
the third time, i stood in the room & screamed
the fourth time, i wished he’d go away
& God’s faithful ears listen
            the church bells on Sunday mornings & the pastor’s sermons
everything comes home with my mother

& the stillness in this room is still mint
i watch over the grey pasture of my mother’s broken body
imagine my father rocking someone’s child to sleep
imagine that one day his demon will rise from its grave
turn his new magic into a broken vase

may the lord build us an ark

                                    the owls are singing bullets
upon us
            the lord knows what he has done
                                    we have all buried a friend
by dragging their bodies out of the water
                                                who will drag you out
when the eyes of the lord turn away from Jordan

                        all flowers are stacked in someone’s throat
the memories of a dirt
the road & heat
the torn map
                                    i bless my god for where i am
but who do i curse for bringing me here?
                                                mama i left home
looking for beauty
                                    looking for a nation where i
am not afraid to love the boy crying into my chest

                                     & beneath these stars
i kiss you deep
                        may your wounds remember that
            love has no sheath

Adedayo Agarau is a Nigerian poet and documentary photographer. He is a graduate of Human Nutrition. He was shortlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize in 2018. He was the runner-up of the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize 2017. He is the Assistant Editor for Poetry at Animal Heart Press, Contributing Editor for Poetry at Barren Magazine. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Gaze, Glass, Jalada Africa, 8 Poems, Hellebore, Headway Lit, Nitrogen House and elsewhere. Adedayo is editing a Nigerian Poetry Anthology. His chapbook, Origin of Names, was selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for African Poetry Book Fund (New Generation African Poets) 2020.

 

*Image by Nandhu Kumar on Unsplash