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Image by Adias623 via Flickr. Caption: Sunset in Brooklyn.

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

surrounds me.

 

 

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.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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