a love poem, after By Ernest O. Ogunyemi

a love poem, after

a prayer will not fill the void.
loneliness is                salty salty drops of yourself
taste like butter                              slippery, melting into
nothingness;               a thousand prayers is
not enough pills for forgetting                     memory is
a bro-              ken         mirror       your body is
a warm tea in a                       leaking cup.
this is what grief tastes like:
the river runs                 into the ocean, silence eats
into the fabric of                     your soul, you are
a small bird         creeping       into itself for warmth
electricity dies in your veins           the cold seeps through your bones
could she return                                 you would mold
your heart into               a sweet song, lay it
an offering at her altar                her body, which
you call a feast,                              a temple, the world would be
smaller             no reaching for things you never get, all memories
become heaven                      your palm a petal
opening itself to                      the sun.
a crab digs a       hole in your soul, deeper deeper
deeper still                       you are finding home—
home is                a lone street on a moonless night
without stars                   you spread your        voice
a bouquet of flowers                  in the wind, may it
bear it far                                     fireflies touch the night with colors
you cannot say                 what a touch of light is
every color is red             in your eyes, droop-
ing down her thighs,       a cry is layered.

By Ernest O. Ogunyemi


Ernest O. Ogunyemi is an eighteen-year-old boy singing in words from the corner of his room in Nigeria—to the world. His works have appeared in Kalahari, Praxis Online, Literally Stories, Acumen UK, and elsewhere. He is learning to walk on water, not when it freezes.

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