After Ariyo Ahmad’s “Dear Brother“
death is an enthusiastic Uber driver that arrives at the actual time someone books it. it wastes no time; it lands on your doorstep, then barges into your room like a larcenist.
some words were left out in my mouth while fixing this poem with cables of grief. no! I don’t want to talk about grief, but it keeps infusing its nomenclature in my larynx every minute I try saying something about my innocent brother.
who knows if there are some trees left unnamed in the forest? who knows if there are some flowers left unnamed in the garden that makes the gardener say don’t go there if you don’t want to get your dreadlocks rumpled?
distance is a pariah that glues my buttocks to this chair & deprives me of finding you like the poor connection on my phone.
my lips that kiss each other are like daggers creating diastema in my teeth, then it comes down to my heart piercing it with mournful reminiscences.
every night, I stare at the mirror looking for you, but my reflection slaps me in the face. that’s to say, when a boy eyes the mirror every night, a ghost will chase him in his sleep like a masquerade.
brother, I know you have gone. but you’re here in my heart; I can feel your hand touching mine like stream water. I can see your photographs hanging on this wall. I’m looking at you & you’re smiling at me like lovers taking pictures in front of a colour camera.
when I slept last night, I felt your hand wrapped round mine. I saw us on a roadside walking to a coffee shop, then to a football viewing.
I’m still afraid of telling our blind mother you’ve gone to find solace in God’s mansion.
I know too well, she won’t hesitate to become a feral dog, & tear my flesh into pieces, then my bones into nothingness. for what is the pride of a mother whose son has journeyed with the invisible death?
the last time she requested your voice on a phone call, I dialled a wrong number & told her it was switched off. I told her the last time I heard from you, the electricity in your area got disconnected.
Lord, forgive me, I know I have sinned against my damned self.
my head is a place of worship for grief, isn’t it? is the scar that hangs on my forehead not a portent of grief? & all pernicious things that surround…
I swear to God, I haven’t forgotten you. it’s just that I’m not the portrait of myself anymore; I’m seeing myself as an uncompleted body that grief drags by the trousers into its oasis.
I swear to God, I haven’t forgotten you, brother. last week was your birthday, I lit candles round your grave & lots of floribunda flowers, then I pretended we were seeing each other in a cotillion.
I swear to God, this poem is supposed to be about us rejoicing with flowers in a floral garden, but its sentences are withered like deciduous trees in autumn.
tonight, I want to build a boat to sail me out of this famished grief before it devours me in the dark eyes of our innocent mother.