Three Poems – Omodero David

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gratitude for What we have become

                             After Sanam Sheriff

For time & space

whittled down to water 

beneath our tender feet

shaped into a paddling

mechanism of movement

and our heartbeats throbbing

against the waters rippling us forward,

for age thickening our plumage, I  am grateful

Brother, I opened my eyes to the

light of this world & found you beside me

and for this, too, I am grateful—

for our little lives reeling out of

mother’s womb as a song

in loops; you first, me tugging at your heels—

our cries marking distinct

notes in the gurgling music of time

For days spent beside each other,

our voices & arms, fishing lines reaching 

into the depths of our souls to draw up 

slimy wriggling trouts of joy. 

For love looming beneath

the blanket as you tickled childhood malice

out of my skin, I am grateful

For desire bearing down on our crotches

and our hands, soft & tender instruments 

of pleasure easing off the weight of lust, 

for a moment. For the bathroom that kept

silent, absorbing our light moans in its porcelain 

soundproof walls. For shower, generous sprinkle 

of cold water against cane-marked skins, I am grateful

For the brutal fingers of years & fate

plucking us apart like guitar strings

from home, from the circular joy

of the sound hole out of which our

sweetest music was made,

For what we have become on

these dense waters of time— lone ducks opposite each other,

swimming towards a future either eyes can see

my mouth inflated by wonder, my stomach

brimming with testimonies, o let me spill—


And the day breezes through you

again, like a subtle mystery,

all your carefully stacked plans,

lifted in their listlessness,

origamis fluttering across your

eyes; you are fated to watch them

float away like the boy trailing

the tail of his sailing kite with his eyes

because your hands, you’ve learned,

are often not enough to hold them 

in place; the universe, you felt, needs to

lend a hand; but the universe’s

hands are the wind & it took you

nights of freezing under the sheets,

wondering how much grace left you

when you touched yourself between

shame and sheer desire, it took

you so much sorrow to realize this

you’ve been told to pursue what’s

before you like the boy chasing his

kite with enough speed to catch up

with its pace but not enough to lift

him to reach it. You look to your left

a barrage of voices channelled

to your ears; to your right, your

deceased lover scrunching your

palm. No one is looking at your

legs: the silence swallowing them

like beachside sand; everyone is

urging you to look ahead, but what is

ahead, in your eyes, is fast ripping in the wind

you look around you, again,

loneliness, a calm breeze caressing

you in the softest places you know


Today, everything I have lost 

cramps behind me like a hunch

a presence that is not really

a presence, & I have walked on with

the weight of their screams

bearing down on me, o tired soul

is there any rest from all of this?


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