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.