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No Hymn Flowering in the Morning, a Poem by Praise Osawaru

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

First Place Winner of the "Vultures & Doves: Social Issues of Our Time" Poetry Competition.

for a while now, each time I fall into the hole of unreality

I awaken raw & frigid—a needle in the murk—in the

sandy palm of the earth, in a territory eaten by grief.

I catch a shot tearing through the reticence of the bundling fog

& the sound of a body becomes a branch breaking off a tree.

& a gravestone emerges, a thread loosening itself.

I plummet before it, thick, fingers unearthing.

the wind translates into a choir of ashes,

my tears meet the soil & black roses push out to the surface.

dawn heaves me into the galaxy of the living.

there is no hymn flowering in the morning, only a knot,

only the color of nightmare crowning me with dread.

I mean to tell you, my father almost transformed into a metaphor

at the wand of a gun, in this neighborhood where stars

drop out of the sky before glimmering. & I have been dreaming

of ravens, candlesticks, dense skies & a shadowless house.

if you see a turbulent sea in me when I lie, know that

I am striving to cease the gray clouds from gobbling my moon.

my brother sun drowned while traversing the ocean here.

I am not committing to the dialect of loss. I am not—


Praise Osawaru (he/him) is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his work appears or is forthcoming in Agbowó, FIYAH, Frontier Poetry, Down River Road, The Maine Review, and Savant-Garde, among others. An NF2W Poetry scholar, he's the second-place winner of the Nigerian NewsDirect Poetry Prize 2020 and a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize & the 2020 Awele Creative Trust Award. He's a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine and a reader for Chestnut Review. Find him on Instagram & Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.


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