Watch this poem become fire become air.
This house smells of suffocation
And here the world goes to sleep in a poem.
Ask me why on May 1,
I am thinking of visiting a salon
And on July 1,
I am cutting my hair with a razor.
The difference between cremation and immolation is
A body in motion and a body at rest.
Every time I listen outside my window,
I think of the word reprieve.
I think of loss. Ennui. Formaldehyde.
I think of many words
That mean a war between skin and soul.
Mother says I must learn to adapt,
One only adapts to a thing that resembles home,
And adapting is really a fancy word
For losing parts of one’s self
To a thing they may never understand.
Haemolysis of the body.
Like a cell,
A body ruptures if placed in harsh conditions–
Say solitude and anxiety.
My anxiety is a noun in transit,
A word capable of holding a presence.
Every breath I take is the death of a poem
Or a girl walking into a wall
Or the birth of silence.
But what is silence other than the synonym for
An empty house that refuses to echo?
The news says there is a migration of souls.
I lock myself in a dark room
And pretend that the war outside
Surpasses the war within
Where I am both prey and predator.
I do not know how to write poems
That do not sound like
Houses falling apart in a body.
*This poem is the winner of Bloomsday Poetry Competition Sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, Nigeria. More details here.