person Wale Ayinla, three poems

Wale Ayinla writes from the ancient city of Abeokuta in Nigeria . He is a Best of the Net Award nominee, and his recent works appear on Palette Poetry, FLAPPERHOUSE, Connotations Press, The Temz Review, SOBER., and elsewhere. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter. He is the founding editor of Dwarts Magazine.


a library of misfits

to be honest, this poem isn’t about me / and it is
              the apple froth gulped through my lungs / and it is
disorientating how i draw the horse with its chariot /
              when i own a story, i consume consent / the air wilts
in between my teeth / and there are dead bodies
              as cymbals in the oxygen / i still insist on making
youthfulness a decade earlier / maybe i’d have become
              a river inching away from the shoreline / a plenty
of water is death / i pleaded my mother to teach me
              how to pray / she calls God our father / it is written
that God grew into darkness and spoke light out /
              this time, to speak is chaos / the fire in my throat
is a basket of echoes / i mask my spirit into a prayer /
              & i watch my ears slide off / listening to a wisteria hum /
the leaves don’t lie / they only undress their branches /


for D.J., Jerry, and Nome

listen to me little anchors, i pledge
allegiance to take you home safe.
arrange the bodies closer to their
death, safety will come last. this
body will find a way to save itse-
lf. i pledge allegiance to my tong-
ue wrapped around the continent
stemming out of the acacia. a blue
scissors, a paper bullet, a city of
letters, then the boy lying behind
brothered to a stillbirth. i slice up
the wind and count the faces of the
fathers i have drunk to become filled
to a circumstance. i keep a lagoon
under my throat. & i cry & cry fishes
out into my palms. the fishes are out
of the water which means i am giving
more than i have which means i am
feathered to a room which means
i am as vain as my mother’s threat
which means you are on this ship
which means i am going to drown
you which means no one will die
which means even my father will
re-appear which means i can break
which means you can pick me up
which means every october which
means we will be in remembrance
which means someone is missing
which means someone is carrying
the loss which means we are both


the soul wishes it could reverse a wound

dusk seizes the day from its own light
how humbling creatures yield to the other
blissfully               there are feathers everywhere

my eyes are fastened to the veins of vines left
unkempt                             let’s pretend the body is on flight
and the lilies are blooming from my teeth

let’s pretend no one is pretending           amid danger
there is also peace             are you safe little creature
of want?

in the end           this is all the flesh ever wanted:
to be plucked from its skin as a miracle
a new religion and no one is dying           save me

from this placidity           hence there is a quiver
of arrows under my shirt             i find a hunger
and shoot through


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