HYPOXIA — I
when I say I’m hypoxic, you can see
that I cannot breathe. I mean my alveoli
are aching in the specks of unholy airs.
unholy air can mean what’s left after
salvation wings out of us.
i’ve learnt to buy solitude, so expensive,
because I’m the son of a single father
seeking the half destiny withheld
the quest for another body sucks air
from my lungs.
i pick up a fading petal & that’s how
i know it’s me, see? used to be beautiful, &
still ravishing, dully, you can say it knows
thirst, you can say that’s how we grieve
every breath we used to hold.
you can say, that is what we become
when a dusty year isn’t watered.
this is a poem where a boy searches
for a language in the loamless soils
of his throat.
this is a poem where he kowtows
with faith as thin as the odds of a
dead fowl waking up.
i know of blasphemy but I swear,
god sits with me every time incense crackles
in my room [perhaps his throne is a metaphor].
& every time I become a dead clock—voiceless—
& my fingers tick subhanallahs
while coils of smoke kiss my hands
before becoming prayers reaching for god,
i know he is there.
may he oxygenate the verses of my hypoxia
before I become lungless prayers
In the mouth of graves.
QUELLING A FRACAS
a thorny place empurples me. I’m a baptizand
in waters seeking sanctuary. my body
levitates & falls—headfirst. echoes resonate inside me.
am I a throed country seeking secession? I wear a body
plumped like a balloon by the heat of ennui. what
can prick the body of a boy if not the sordid hand
of a curse? don’t say this poem is about grief,
say it’s a night rumbling into whirlwinds with a
boy learning the alphabets of his limbs crawling
through, in search of a language; in search of
salvation. this river
is a sacrifice I offer to god after bathing myself while
i await the descent of a voice to quell a fracas of
before saying everything is perfect
in god’s hands. is perdition perfect, too?
some nights stitch me with the hope
of when a jesus will lazarus me from the hands
of nooses I can’t burn.
I flay myself under the rays of god’s eyes
embroidering my room. may he watch over me as
he watched a virgin birth her master.
Poetry: Olowonjoyin Muhammed
Image: Max Michatz on Unsplash