it is impossible to think self harm whilst listening to Fela, but God, i do

i stand in front of the mirror to wish
narcissism under my skin, witness every scar gilded.
the clock behind me is eternity
with a face. clockwise, she wipes her quartz forehead,
and a name disappears behind red ink.

i dip the tip of my inkless pen
into the fissure on my shoulder. i want to write
a letter to my eight-year-old self
who lived without the weight of ironwood crosses.
lad with the address where a vulture
perched on an unanswered prayer, awaiting
the corpse of his starving friend.

unclothed, i want to smear grey guache
on my skin. i want to
self-portrait, writhing on a canvas

twice, i watched a ghost hatch from a scar,
cutting my veins to string a violin. i listened as it played
mother’s favourite hymn in trances
she’d whisper, “ogadinma. your life is in God’s hands”
“do you still read Psalm 23?”
i say nothing. i say
nothing as she pats my bare back,
the palm of her hand, the feel of God’s tongue
scalded by tears

11:30 p.m. i swear, i hate that i’m not at the seaside
as this grief shards me into a thousand
pieces of notes, stardust, & ellipsis

what will these turquoise-eyed mermaids
place in their solitaires?


Photo by Divine Effiong on Unsplash