after Tiana Clark’s “Equilibrium”

After thirty years                                          I finally managed
to figure out                                                   what home means
to a refugee. Plume                                       the flickering ash
around the reality                                         of waking up at dawn
to a new statute                                             asking me to name
every line on                                                  my thickening palms.
The landlord is                                                             the god I see
at night. I pray                                                to him for permission
to call his house home.                                       When he touches
my daughter where no man                                          should touch
her, I pull the nonplussed girl                                          by the ear
and warn her to use                                                          the kitchen
door henceforth. Cutting                                                cantaloupes,
the sight of policemen                                                             coming
towards my door                                                     makes the fruit bleed
my dark blood,                                                      but they have not come
to ask why I cut                                                     myself, they have come
to ask if I wasn’t                                                              a terrorist to bomb
innocent neighbors                                               in no distant future.
I would tend to                                                       my bloody finger later,
asking where                                                           my appetite has gone.
I know home was                                                   where death ambushed
my destiny,                                                                I know it should be
where the sun rills in                                              with a smile,
not climbs arrogantly                                             upon my vertebrae,
not make rent the tears                                           that must not
dry up before                                                            the next election.
My weakened muscles                                            purr at the veins
delivering gas to                                                       my heart that
would not stop                                                          pounding. Each time
someone tries to                                                       extinguish the fire
of political bigotry,                                                   the rotten air
runnels through,                                                       feeding oil
to the rampaging                                                       flame. I look out
through the                                                                 basement window,
my eyes                                                                        traversing oceans
and mountains                                                           calling home, waiting
for something                                                             beautifully naked
to crawl up ashore                                                     and say stay here.

First Published by published by Rattle. 

By Bola Opaleke


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.

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