mother, before you hallow my skin
with kisses and warm tears
tell me if I am a disease
this world has made me so
tell me, why the evening swallows the sun with aplomb
this earth has taught me
not to smile into the sun
for it might be fire that writes poems into skins
of loved ones and sings it to the world in ballads.
mother, before you wipe my skin
with your hands that drip with sweat
and smell of blood and bruises
tell me, why my skin is dark
like those mournful nights
when the chirps and chimes of nocturnals
are swallowed whole by the serpent moon
tell me why this blood keeps singing me to fires
that want to tell me the sins of my fathers
mother, before you anoint my head
am I worthy of love?
these men have told me-
‘no this pain will help you grow,
this love will make you slow’
this word called love, men will never know.
mother, before you anoint me again
tell me a story of before
tell me a prophecy of the future
tell me, let me fear while your voice remains
for I heard the world will feed me with hate-
in drops and in excess
till your name becomes a sour poem
ready to be crumpled into the bin of hope.
Salam Wosu is a graduate of Chemical engineering from the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria. He binges on deep poetry that is inspired by topics that hurt to speak of – heartbreak, mourning, hatred and fear. He was shortlisted for the Korean Nigerian Poetry Fiesta award 2017 and has his works in various online platforms including; Mounting the Moon and anthology of Queer Nigerian poems. He writes and blogs from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
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