Amen, Amen By Diepreye Amanah

Amen, Amen

Yes, me too:

                        my head—

                                            it’s a funny one:

so full of

                  many tiny bodies

                                         that twirl and whirl

                                                                     like gas molecules 

high on kinetic energy,

                                                        the source renewable 

                            per microseconds—

these thoughts 

                          triplicate themselves

                                                             and shrink up



                                   like an unending conversation





                      until they are just multiples

                                                               of these lingering few:

“What if this is all there is

                                             when “this” is nothing?

        What if the past had happened

                                                      on a different day of the week? 

 What if tomorrow leads nowhere

                                                       or never comes at all?

What if it has all been a mistake?

                                              What if this is a mistake?

                                                                        What if I am the mistake?”

What if       

               what if,

                             what if,

                                           what if,

rolling around

                                   in these

   triple spiral labyrinths—our minds—

                                        siphoning our sleep, 

            seizing our rest.

How do we release them, 

                                             escape from them,

when it’s our hearts that beat

                                                 the drums that guide their feet,                   

      when it’s our blinking

                                           that violins them into sway?

How, oh how do we break free?                          

                            Well, there is work to be done.

So come with me,

                              come with me,

                                                          put on your good shoes,

                                     wear a hat,

bring some water too,

                                           come with me,

                                                                we are walking all the way

                                     to the big gate;

bring your God along,

                                whatever they may be,

                                                         that they might walk with us

                             pray for us,

pray with us:


                                let us in,


Fill our mouths, our hair, our eyes

                                                      our bellies, amen.


                                we see you in there

lonely old man,

                           lice crawling in your beard,

just let us in,

                       we have oils, we have comb.


               you sick old man

                                            we have lotion

for the sores 

                     on your shriveling skin,

                                            we have syrup for your throat


       let us in, amen.

Don’t you see the cobwebs on your furniture,

                                               hanging from your dining hall?

Come on, let us in Joy;

                                     we are children, parents, teachers

we are writers, artists, musicians,

                                                    we are cooks and bartenders;

we will sing with you

                                        we will eat with you

      we will dance with you

                                         we will talk with you, read to you,

we know you are sad 

                                      just like us Joy,

please let us in,

                           let us glimpse 

                                                 your grandsons and granddaughters,

and if you won’t, please pray to their big bright brown eyes

                                                                                                  for us:

                                 pray that they steal our suffering,

  steel our souls,

                                  still the noise,

                                                           steal us out of these

  triple spiral labyrinths—our minds.

By Diepreye Amanah


Diepreye Amanah is a senior studying English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her poems appear in Carolina Woman Magazine, the Health Humanities Journal of UNC, and as prize winners in the 2021 A.R. Ammons Poetry Contest. Her poem is forthcoming in Up the Staircase Quarterly.

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