“a beginning is a delicate time.”
– Dune.

& I am at a cemetery under a sky dead as the ground,
tucking the ripped daises from my heart into a hole.

I know there are so many doors we open that greet us with
a cold knife. there are many times a nail returns in our

hands after a shake. sometimes, we’re the birds dying
to grow wings, only to fly into a window. other times, 

we’re the clock hands bothering ourselves over & over
to find something real, not knowing we’re screwed.

this is not me saying: the blade is too sharp, you’d think
it was made for my skin. or my room is too cold, I need

someone to sleep into–maybe. the truth is: every time, 
I stand at the porch to paint the blue sky on my canvas, 

it fades into gray. in dreams, I see myself smiling in 
framed photographs, but I awaken to blank walls. 

how hot should the water be for my custard to come
out thick? I’ve tried & tried, my kettle’s blackness speaks 

for itself. God, why am I the lily in the land of lonely? 
an owl pulls me out of my mind’s abyss with its sound.

& I walk away feeling somewhat renewed. but I know,
that a new page is also a page yet torn. or am I wrong?


About the author:

Praise Osawaru (he/him) is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Nina Riggs Poetry Award nominee; his work appears in Agbowó, FIYAH, Frontier Poetry, Down River Road, The Maine Review, and Uncanny Magazine, among others. He is the first-place winner of the 2021 Valiant Scribe Poetry Prize, the second-place winner of the Nigerian NewsDirect Poetry Prize 2020, and a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize & the 2021 Dan Veach Prize For Younger poets. He is a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine and a reader for Chestnut Review. Find him on Instagram & Twitter @wordsmithpraise.

Image by Couleur from Pixabay