SONG FOR MY MOTHER'S LAST CHILD
Nome, Emeka Patrick
my mother's last child cries behind the door,
he won't let no one in not even his own shadow
for the lights are out. in the darkness, his sob
is many pebbles tumbling down a dark tunnel.
in another room, my father plays scrabble on
his phone, the phone's light unfurls the thorn
in his eyes & when he drops the phone, he heaves
a sigh so hollow i heard the crackle of sadness
in it. in the room where i write this poem, i am
no-one's child, grief claims me. minutes ago,
my abba told the last child as from today you
fend for yourself, you work to make your money
& when my sister, tears in her eyes, tries to
say something, my abba snaps at her shut up!
see how Loss carves a family into a bald stone?
i won't kill myself, i won't kill my father, &
i won't kill the bird shrieking in my bones!
my beautiful beautiful abba is a horse ridden
by the loss of his wife, & nothing else.
if i cry these eyes out, what will i give my mama's
child when his drown in the pool of his own tears?
Obi, can you hear me? Open the door, i call to him,
but he doesn't answer, neither did the door.
& my mother's ghost won't rise to comfort him.
NOME, EMEKA PATRICK is a blxck bxy and student in the University of Benin, Nigeria, where he studies English language and literature. He is a recipient of the Festus Iyayi award for excellence (Poetry) in 2018. His works have been published or forthcoming in Poet Lore, Puerto Del Sol, Beloit poetry journal, Notre Dame Review, The McNeese Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, FLAPPER HOUSE, Crannóg magazine, Mud Season Review, Alegrarse journal,The Oakland Review and elsewhere. His manuscript "We Need New Moses. Or New Luther King" was a finalist for the 2018 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He lives in a small room close to banana trees and bird songs in Benin.