Canvas of Death
Before she epitaphed silence on the gravestones of our tongue// with phlegms of stale goodbyes// lost in the wetness of her dry lungs.
My mother painted the mosaic of a trembling woman on flints of a burning sensation// & called it the canvas of death.
Small pox in fierce rage, combats for a niche on her wrinkled skin// she told us they were mild pimples// orphaned on the dead streets of a woman’s body.
But the woman in the mosaic was her// forget that our puny minds couldn’t conceive its meaning.
On our couch, i watched my step brother hold the intervals of her breathe still in his watery eyes// my sisters with faded smiles on the slabs of their cheeks// squeezed bits of offertory into the sepulchre perching on the roofs of mother’s weak gum.
But the ripple effect of scars the pox fastened to the walls of her skin// would not give way for an innocent life to fester.
Silence raped our beings as my brother roped his fear above the heaving of her breast// searching for tiny beats of her existence
or her dirge ironed in the shape of a swelled drawling// or a mother rescuing her faith away from the burning incense; roasting her worn out salvation into a camwood of wet remains// which ashes we all rubbed beneath our eyelids.
Her mutters became a pool of hot coal// gradually drowning off the steep of our weak embrace.
She littered a smile on the rough edges of her face, like a canvas// smearing our native names on every cheekbones with unmentioned ballads of sighs trapped in her eyes.
Maybe this is another way an artist says goodbye to a world as ours.
Adieu, and Those Things We Say After Death
Adieu, to the springs of sweat we excrete through our eyelids
to the genocide of tasting your own fear on a loved one’s body
the numb pains our sepulchre cradle.
Adieu, to the diabetes we take in as sugar.
to the future we dreamt all through the night
tossing our body like an unlucky dice on a gambler’s slab
because to own your own breathe, is to harbor risk itself.
Adieu to the misfortune of mercy killing.
to watching your mother’s weakly erect smile
fade into the pills you now engrave her mouth with
knowing that whatever you just committed was murder.
Adieu to twilight
to the way we groom our troubled whispers
into rumours for baffled breeze.
adieu to hope
& the way we ever miscarried her on our belly button.
Adieu, to our loved ones
including those things they say after our death.
Nnadi Samuel is a 20 years old Nigerian poet, and a final year student of the University of Benin, studying English & Literature. He has a flair for writing.