After Saddiq Dzukogi’s “What the poem said”

A man stands facing the still army of the sea on a fair day strangled
into night by his grief; he deciphers its silence as an ancient guilt water-locked
here, in this small place of ruptured peace & dark remembrances
ebbing away as a weak breeze rippling the dark face of water, a delicate memory locked
away in a gold-plated treasure
chest beneath the sea quivers. The man being a poem
Afraid Of the roguery
of its own stray shadow — haunting after every
Footprint left by the memory of a betrayal that
hums in the blood of the poem, the poem being
My silence held by the scruff of the neck, shaken clean — line by line — of the white wool of
Sanity. I, castaway from the shipwreck of the white sail of grace, rummage
The shore for the fragments of the ship, for the broken bones of the poem why
Are the fragments of everything broken every fractured
Limb of grace
hard to find let alone collect its pieces. Tell me, do you not sense my incompetence
at language. Do you not See the ruffled fringes at the hem of each line—
Swaying softly, a rhythm too weak to sustain the poem
The gold-plated chest, s-t-r-a-i-n-e-d beyond what it can bear, relinquishes
Its contents to the inertia that levitates all
Sea-bound creatures — delicate vowels of an age-old ache shrapneling out the echoes
mustering the calm sea into The tempest swallowing Shakespeare its creator.
The real poem begins where the man is ended, where the poem is bedded.
The real
Poem finally settles in the silence of the empty chest.


Photo by Marc Coenen from Pexels