Categories
Poetry Trauma

The Body Is a House to Scars by Idowu Odeyemi

Salah and I escaped the blast that ate our mother

And turned our father to the offering

God punished Eli’s sons for eating

 

Looking for the safest tattered house to sleep:

A bullet entered through Salah’s forehead,

While we were fleeing from gunshots,

I smiled and took it from the back of his skull

& put it in my pocket

(I cannot carry a dead body with me &

I have to show the world I have a lineage)

 

My eyes have seen the ground inhume blood

of people I love with all of my heart.

Our playground turned to a red sky.

 

Smiling all the time is a sign

the mind is depressed and the body a house to scars.

 

I grew up believing I will become some mothers’ prayer

every morning they wake up to pray for their children.

 

Now all that is preventing me from killing myself

is the thought that the world was beautiful

& the world will be beautiful again.

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Idowu Odeyemi is a Nigerian poet and essayist. His poem Love Only Kills A Poor Boy won the Liverpool based Merak Magazine 2019 annual literary recognition Awards for Best Poem of the Year. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize and the Christopher Okigbo Poetry prize. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in the anthology 84 Bottles of Wine dedicated to the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Constellate Journal, Kalahari review, Praxis magazine, Lite Lit One, Perhappened Magazine, among others.

Categories
Poetry Trauma

Poem by Lee Alder Ketcham Seguinte

I held your hand in a hot car
while you cried and the radio played
a song about falling.

I held your hand and we leaned back
and looked at the stars through the sun roof.

I held your hand
because there was nothing else for me to do.
Because I couldn’t show you
how to meet the eyes of that pain
crowding like a nightmare-beast in the corner,
hung like thorn roses around your neck.

I held your hand
and offered the heart I hide behind the panels of my ribs
behind the slabs of my chest.
The one gone soft like a bruised peach.

I held your hand silently.
in the car,
in the dark.
Held your hand, and, looking upward,
told the stars what I could not tell you.

“There are ways to wear your bruised heart,
to wear your necklace of pain.
Even ways to wear that beast with night’s eyes.
There are ways to hold your fear so they will not consume you.

Ways to hold their hand.”

Lee Alder
Lee is old enough to know better, but doesn’t. He might be a changeling, but wouldn’t tell you if he were. He lives in Sacramento, California with his husband, five cats with lofty names, a dog named after a Pokemon, and another debatably-Arcadia. His other work can be found at lawofnames.com