What the owls say about misery

by Anointing Obuh

What the owls say about misery

Every night, I stare at the stars long enough to wish my mother

pregnant with a boy child  

begging the earth to steady her so she would stop spilling life on the rugs

I fall asleep to owls hooting "loss is parental"                                                                                     Yet my nightmares begin by day in the middle of mother's empty eyes

& her too firm breasts

It is a blessing, an Allamdullilah said through lips pursed just so

Emptying it of meaning; not all of us will be born, cruel,

a valley between our legs instead of a phallus, our tongues

sticking out of our mouth in a defiant refusal to cry.

I'm sure father thought mother loved watching the wind

whistling through the periwinkle clouds, wasting away.

I know she looks, she finds the faces of the children she's lost in the clouds

& wonders why god keeps taking them for himself.

What good would it do a woman to become a prayer of thanks

& empty herself of meaning

I used to wish my mother was a sailor,

so she could find land and scream above the whisper of her soul " ahoy, ahoy!"

I watch mother's legs become two K's locked in a passionate kiss

a stopper to blood, or male seed carelessly planted

Father says he can't see himself in me, calls me a star refusing to shine brightly enough

I could have been a boy; equal to the stars I beseech

I have watched pain build sandcastles in our home

& I have kissed the floor before their Lords, sweeping the imprints of mother's feet on the carpet a million times,

hoping she would just walk away.

I hear the weeping, as the walls become paper thin enough for my breath to pass through

I see the blood trickling through her fingers. It is night, I am staring at my ceiling. I grow weary, I have become too tired to heal.

Anointing K Obuh is a story teller. She believes that the best stories are best told through poetry. She currently studies English and literature at the University of Benin, in Nigeria. She sends her best regards

Anointing Obuh

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