On Loss

Grief filled a nearby room, & silence
unspooled its thread in our throats.

Shadows sketched on our curtains &
we still can’t language the absence

of our mother with the magnolias
stuck between our teeth. Night was

a soloist, we heard it sing a song
endlessly above our cradle. When

death slides into everything you love
like clumps of snow on a thatched

roof, all you can think of is the voice
that once used to hack the wind.

A mother’s voice from the kitchen;
limpid and clear like glass sheets.

A boy takes to the field with his chest
bloated with a fist-sized grief.

His own body betrays him; he can
no longer measure memory in a

distance. There is no telling what
lonely dream he will embrace tonight;

no telling what bullet is burning
in the body of his beloved. It is such

a dangerous thing to offer one’s
self to an old wound; the kind where

respite and solace sits on spiked
thrones. At night, the owl’s laughter

is quenched by an hollow darkness—
everything is learning to grieve again.

Prosper C. Ìféányí is a Nigerian poet. His works are featured or forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, Variant Literature, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Identity Theory, Counterclock Journal, and elsewhere. Reach him on Twitter and Instagram @prosperifeanyii

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