The Body Wishes it Could Remain in its Own Palace – by Nome Emeka Patrick

 

every ending to this poem unfurls with an ache, which means it opens with blood
carving a name from a wound         or a wound eaten into salt, or rather the ending
to this poem starts with a heart,       which means there is a winged bird nurtured
close to the arrhythmia of burning,                      or a garden full of rot & feathers

let us reconsider the ending: once, there was ache where an ark should be carved,
which means we should be sailing not drowning, which means once you were the wood
creamed for survival, which means survival turned out to be flames eating itself into you,
which means the ending to this poem is ache, is axe, is burning, is drowning

        prelude #1: you are a flower & we name cities after you. once, you bloomed out of your
mother, a petal carved from you,    or once you were a firefly & you danced out of your
mother with radar lights,          or once you were the lights that claimed the garden, or once
you were a songlet humming out of your mother

         prelude #2: you are a unicorn & we name rivers after you. once, we opened your mouth
& there was a city of songs, a star carved into you,         or once your body was the magic we always
dreamt of,         a labyrinth cold inside you,     or once we looked into you & found an ark,       & we
thought survival                  or rather revival

         once we imagined everything: rainbows, birds, arks, sail, water, flowers but not storm,
not dragons, not drown, not fire, not thorns,                              not anything besides survival

every ending to this poem unfurls with blood, which means it opens with ache
carving a wound from a name         or salt eaten into a wound, or rather the ending
to this poem starts with a winged bird,    which means there is a heart nurtured
close to the arrhythmia of burning,           or a garden full of feathers & rot

 

 

 

Nome Emeka Patrick is a black poet and a student in the University of Benin, Nigeria, where he is studying English language and literature. He is a recipient of the 40th edition of Festus Iyayi poetry award in 2018. His works have been published in Gaze journal, Vagabond city, African writer, and a few others; and is forthcoming in Barnhouse Journal. He lives in a small room close to banana trees and birdsongs in Benin. You can holla at him on twitter @paht_rihk