2 poems

by Jonathan Endurance

2 poems

by Jonathan Endurance

A Mirror For the Butterflies Without Wings



i have learnt the magic

in the wings of birds.

to survive the fire, you surrender

your body to the miracles

in a stranger's arms. a crew of sparrows

flee to the border, searching home

among lands that are now wombs

for dead limbs. on TV,

ISWAP is a new word for teeth.

in Mararrabar, every second is naked

and dressed in ash. we carry fire

on our skin and spread it like a book.​​ 

last night, my father phoned to ask

about the gunfire in Mararrabar.

he said the TV choked under the grip

of smoke. ​​ i hope your little sister

survived the wounds? ​​​​ i never told him

how i needed miracles to breathe.

or about the bird in my mouth

being at a crossroad between

darkness and light. the worrying

animal in his voice didn't let me to.

when he said survive, a terrified animal

leaped into the burrow of my heart.

in my head, the city is a cart of dust,​​ 

masked men in black are dragging it

by the wheel. brown boots

shatter school doors into

smithereens. the day is a paper

floating in the wings of fire.

smoke opens its door

and the city enters. last night,

my mother prayed about the

assaults in Karamar.

i felt her tears awaken the silence

of the floor. the animals in her mouth

roared with sobbing vocabularies.

her knuckles were placed each

on its own broken ship.








Questions About Love


on the eve of your birthday,

you asked i uncage the birds​​ 

in my mouth that you wanted

to see how they hymn your name

in your absence. i watched as​​ 

the moon lay on the scalp of your hair.

i remember the other night

under this oak tree, i told you stories

about birds loving the fall of rains.

you asked i tell you about myself:

how i was named Loss, why I never​​ 

smile.​​ let's talk about family,

what do you think?​​ the animal in

my mouth was terrified to leap,​​ 

to say my mother died because she loved

my father. how one night,

the sea of tears washed my mother

ashore. how we hated our father

for always smelling of strange cologne

my mother didn't buy.​​ 

it's years since the feet of loss walked

into our home and took my mother

out into the night. you asked​​ 

about my father, why his face

looks like a bird's beak

in the gallery of my phone.

in my head, i imagined a vase

of rose blown away by the wind.​​ 




About the Author

Jonathan Endurance is a Nigerian poet whose work has appeared in or forthcoming in Rattle Magazine, Eunoia Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Indolent Books, The Ellis Review, Ghost City Review, Canvas Literary Journal, Brittle Paper, and others. He was a joint winner of the maiden edition of Calabar Festival Poetry Competition(2016). His unpublished poem won UNESCO Sponsored Prize for the 14th edition of Castello di Duino Poetry Competition, ITALY. Say hello on Twitter @joepoet_

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#thesideshow| December 2019| Micro-poetry