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.
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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