Volume 29, Number 1


They say her body is the earth
into which boys like us 
must be buried, the fence
upon which our spirits must rest.
Our skeleton-children falling from
the shadows we had long abandoned
also unlock themselves into that fumeless smoke
as we absent-mindedly teach them how to suckle 
the hardened nipples of a myth 
that have fed countless generations before us. 
But because the sun never drops down to polish 
the glaucoma in our eyes to a fine sand
we make women the tree that must be hewed down in spring,
make every folklore into a string 
biting off their bras, targeting their brown breasts?
The fools who never wait for the master of the house
to answer the door would kick the windows open
and become the abominable scars
on their thighs. The lotus flowers deflowered
too early. New set of hypnotists arriving
to make them into dark rainbow.
But because we were told to be allergic to blood
in which we bath, no one remembers to call a thief a thief.
Even the priests of the land only offer their prayers, not their hands
they say our women come from dirty blood,
that there is a snake that lives underneath their fingernails. 
But how can it be dirty when we swim in it to be clean?
How can it be our death when life rises from therein?

—Bola Opaleke