(After Tracy K. Smith)
In this life that is not life
Transient pleasures are straws
they struggle to clutch.
Hunched in their habitual dolour;
Brows raised, nostrils flared,
They hum the music nestled in their throats while
Penning pithy epitaphs to their hope’s demise-
You could have left a little late,
Why did you have to leave
Tell us, before you hide, what is
left of our fate.
And I, just like them, know loss
I carry it the way rivers carry secrets
Only whispering to stones.
Measuring time with shadows.
There is an empty feeling in my chest,
A gale of longing- cheerful and sad-
something primal; I want
to hold out my palm, touch it, sing to it-
A thousand torments dwell
in my soul and yet you live there.
Why would you live there?
Are you also pulling breath from the air-
like the furtive forces of nature that
engender my human weakness?
But it instead slows my breath,
drowns my voice.
We, them and I, are filled with fissures
where dreams go to die,
Just like the water, that ripples and lulls
light into points of darkness.
We each court despair with our fingers, finding
solace with each other’s grief; brief respite.
And in tune, we spite the Divinity for this fate.
The shade of the sky was our comfort.
A bird flew within sight, flapping furiously,
as though it was restoring our faith-
one more time- beneath it’s wings.
It hung the clouds on to its wing.
And with a single motion, we watched it
nudge the blue out of the sky.
And it rained in our lives.
-Suleman Opio, ‘Blue’.