See the Eastern Bluebirds,
that have known far wintering grounds.
Their orange-breasted dance and alert posture
in the trees with fruits.
The Yellow orchids that spring at the base of these trees,
an applause of colors to the birds, that they find a way
to stay alive.
It’s May, and I, too, have found a way
to stay alive.
The birds, we know, are kind
and sometimes on their long journeys, they hurt
one another. Yet they fly in formation.
What pulls one hurt bird to the other? Affection?
Or some ancient gravity older than the body sinned against.
As though there is an electric vow between them
that none of them would be allowed to fall.
I forgive those who hurt me.
I forgive myself.
What is good in me, I offer to the blue tailed thrushes
since I am, like them, a sea crossing child.
Their human knowing cry, almost love chorus.
My dead are still dead
But suddenly life
About the Author:
Gbenga Adesina co-won the 2016 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. His poem, “How To Paint A Girl” was selected by Mathew Zapruder for its “clarity of observation and empathetic insight into the suffering of another” for the New York Times. His poetry manuscript, Holy Bodies, was a finalist for the 2017 Sillerman First Book Prize. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. He has received scholarships and residencies from Fine Arts Work Centre, Provincetown, and The Open Society Foundation in Goree Island, Senegal. His poetry chapbook, Painter of Water, was published by APBF and Akashic Books, New York in a series edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Brittle Paper, Vinyl, Ploughshares and elsewhere.