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Assimilation | Romeo Oriogun

Assimilation | Romeo Oriogun

Assimilation - Romeo Oriogun | Agbowo


It was not the green of trees that welcomed 
me to spring. It was not the resurrection 
of dead fields that showed me that the way 
through life could be green and tender.
It was a little dog, a terrier mix, running 
around the park, yelping into the nothingness 
of air, daring even God to stop her. I stood 
for minutes outside the fence, watching her, 
wondering about my life. In the Midwest 
of America I have become domesticated 
against the beauty of rainforests. Everything 
has slowed down. The antelopes in my dreams 
have stopped gliding over fallen logs, instead 
they are strolling through the grasses, kept 
out of the wild by a row of wooden fences 
like I have been kept out of my country. 
Is the end of my life the slowness of wonder? 
I have forgotten the colony of bees, 
I have forgotten the wild goats
chasing me on broken bridges as I ran
to drink sugar filled coffee in roadside kiosks. 
It is a thing of terror to stare into the lights
of your past, to fall to the ground, a broken being 
trying to root his belonging into the depth 
of a new world, becoming like a little dog
waiting for its first rain, starring at the clouds 
with no knowledge of what it feels like 
to surrender fear to the solitude of rainfall. 

Romeo Oriogun

Romeo Oriogun is a Nigerian poet whose poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Nation, Poetry, and other journals. A winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature and the Poetry Society of America Fay Di Castagnola Prize, he lives in Ames where he works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Iowa State University.

‘Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

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