Late last winter the world as we knew it shut down.
I kept a list of words that echoed across early pandemic conversations: grief, dead, sick, wait, prognosis, we’ll see, stay safe, be well.
I unearthed this list this winter. I noticed how each word revolved around time: its ebbing, passing, ending; how much we have, how much we want.
So, this month, we offer meditations on time: a tented foreign god, pieces of a swan, and a tattoo, buried deep in flesh.
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Next month’s theme is:
Defined as: a subtle shade of meaning, expression, or sound.
Submission guidelines can be found here.
Perhaps not Everything Burns into Embers
in a clan where Sango lives in obscurity
because you tented a foreign god.
And to prove your supremacy, you burn anything
that touches you or otherwise. I tell a boy too afraid
to love anything or anyone – not even his brother –
that I’ve witnessed nearly three decades of fireworks here.
I mean my body is golden, and each time fire comes after me,
I’m refined. The way my body tussles with luminary bodies,
I am sure I shall live to declare the glory of fire.
But because I’ve watched enough non-fiction scenes
here, like the hole a kinetic bullet leaves on brittle bodies,
the formation of river Borno with the blood of farmers,
the boom bap of bombs in the city behind my place of birth,
I conclude that you can’t live a century here without been scarred –
the reason I define molecule to be a body with the imprint of fire.
Blessed be the body found here which does not burn yet.
Blessed be my body, a compound of blood and water surviving fire.
• Sango – the god of thunder and lightning
Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian teacher and author. His work has been featured in various local and international anthologies. He has written for Roughcut Press, Artmosterrific, Con-scio, Lunaris Review, Praxis, Parousia, Wax Poetry Journal, and others. He was a 2020 semi-finalist for Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the winner, 9th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize (Ambassador Special Prize). He is currently a creative writing instructor at Jewel Model Secondary School, Abuja, where he has coached winners of national and international writing prizes
C. A. MacKenzie (she/hers) is an MSW student on the Interpersonal Practice pathway at The University of Michigan, from which she also holds a B.A. in Psychology, English, and Creative Writing.
Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her next, full-length collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, is forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Books. Please contact her through her website.