HOME THAT WOULD NOT LET US STAY
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
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.