the word was dead
when it landed on my sweaty nose,
they say it wasn’t meant for my ears.
my landlord has a bad habit
of taking what should never be taken
from me. the Torturer’s whip curl around
his wrist, curl around my neck
because his hands looked like mine
looked like the torn net of a blind fisherman.
His words were spoken through the barrel of the gun.
on our walls photos of many old masters
that cannot be removed but only graffitied.
like a rough lover left to his uncraft
making a road where that was none
I built dreams around the buckets
used to collect my mother’s Rhino eggs
preparing her every glimmer of hope
for a sudden explosion that’s sure to come.
and when I’m completely spent
standing clueless before the locked doors,
beside the windows where the girls and the women
in my life stood, so cold no fire in the world
could warm them one after the other
I took the dead words from my sweaty nose
used them to plead with the landlord,
the keys (to my language) dangling between his fingers.
the women say they can make the word alive again
but the other words are frozen in their mouth too.
By Bola Opaleke
Bola is a Nigerian-Canadian poet residing in Winnipeg, MB. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in a few poetry magazines like Rattle, Cleaver, One, The Nottingham Review, The Puritan, The Literary Review of Canada, Sierra Nevada Review, Dissident Voice, Poetry Quarterly, The Indianapolis Review, Miracle E-Zine, Poetry Pacific, Drunk Monkeys, League of Canadian Poets (Poetry Month 2013), St. Peters College(University of Saskatchewan) Anthology (Society 2013 Vol. 10), Pastiche Magazine, and others. He holds a degree in City Planning.