This month we offer sugar-bruises, toy guns.
Next month we are
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Breakfast, a Dialogue with Myself
The hand of bananas
at the other end of
the dinner table has
gone quiet on me.
Am I not supposed to
be the bad talker here?
Here’s how meals are
meant to go: he takes
his spoon and digs
a complaint out of
his empty cereal bowl —
the humid kitchen air,
the stinking buzz of fruit
flies — which is code for,
“I’m still stuck on the last
delicious thing I had;”
I nod and offer to reheat
the good leftovers,
which is code for, “have
something nice while you
tell me all about the thing
that makes you feel more
alive than even your own
Today, we eat in silence.
Who plucked the voice from
the tree in his chest?
Just yesterday, he was
so soaked in sun that
I thought his skin would
sag from the branches of
his body and reveal him —
how pulp-full and ripe with
joy he must have been!
Today, though — today
he can only curl inwards
like some paper-thin slip
dangled over a lit match.
I think he wants me to
press my fingers into
the grooves of his rotting
flesh. I think he wants me
to find the sweetness that
burst his skin wide open
and cut it out clean.
I think he wants me
to say the withering thing.
Fine, I’ll oblige —
but I’ll say it only once:
Love has turned you tender.
Love has left you sugar-bruised.
Nico Santana is a writer from the Philippines. He is primarily a poet, and his poetry has been published in The Ear Literary Magazine, TLDTD, and the odd video game-centric fanzine. Aside from poetry, he also writes scripts for comics and games that he has little to no intention of turning into anything more.
Vercmagnus E. Chavez / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED
It Becomes Imperative to Ceasefire
My first Christmas gift was a toy gun, stuffed with melodies
that remind me of the season. From the view of a technologist,
it’s abnormal to be happy all day. He wiped music off our guns
& showed us how children could begin to mimic war scenes.
I heard there are guns for children that sound almost like AK–47.
On the street of a city, a boy I had given a toy pistol
didn’t seek permission to snap it. It is what he’d learnt here:
butchery without asking. & it continues, the hallowing of God
by the bodies hit by bullets. Sometimes, after the burial service,
their families join them. The seed of praise, no matter how small
is seen in the fact that there’s something to coffin. I mean,
upon looking for reasons to praise the Lord, the bereaved
whose loved one was hit by a bomb, found none.
Back from the city, my mates that I left in the village now own
armor rooms. Everything about them shoots, cuts down.
Even their dialects could lynch a day into a starry night, untimely.
Look, the street is filled with orphans. & I do not mean
only those whose parents died from stray bullets. Name them,
all those scared of home routes. What leads to exile is the sworn laxness
of one’s home. Through history, we watch boys grow into men
who carry arms in the name of killing what dares to kill them.
& this is what brings erasure to our doorstep, failure to ceasefire,
the seizure to play with toy guns of cheerfulness.
Fortune Eleojo Simeon, a budding poet and a member of Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation is currently a student of Jewel Model Secondary School, Kubwa, Abuja, where poetry found her. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Rough Cut Press, Synchronized Chaos, Eunoia, Kalahari, Eboquills, and elsewhere. Sometimes, she tests the puissance of her words and delivery on stage.