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,
To shapeshift.
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?

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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.

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Photo by Ian Kiragu via Unsplash