calling it ruins

Or perhaps it is the case that only that which

has not been articulated has to be lived through.

J.M. Coetzee

say you paint me an image
             of the sky, i would – in the storm
                       of blue and roaring white

clouds – miss the kite gliding over 
              these mountains.  when you say what,

i will point out the green veins 
         of palm and coconut trees at the horizon,
                    say that’s a life form fading in

the distance, and again miss the wind 
           playing the kite's wings – 
                        like a harp. say you have nothing more

to ask. i will duct, behind my
            tears, this kite that threatens to bare
                       my life in a single flight.

i hope you understand, it’s not eluded
            me completely, this urge to
                   centre an attraction; after all, what other

lure than the dance of heavens 
            would have pulled the kite, hurdle after
                       hurdle, to this height? say i live

past this – will i not a take moment, ask
               what this ruin on your canvas is?

ocean floor

do not look at me in that light—
i'm different. you may not see
a coral bed, dirt or decayed remains. 
there is only an amount of light that can 
penetrate my depths, and it’s devoid of living 
sounds. even i don’t breathe here. 
what else you do not see is how distant life is
from me, how i am more of a dim blue
flame in a glacial ice. what i want is to inhabit 
the great blue shark, the hammerhead, the great 
marlin with its maiming bill. i, too, want to be prey
running away from danger for a change. 
run, run, run. at my depth, there is no waking 
hour—i am always living the dream. it’s a simple 
one: there’s a space in time, everything is 
paused, no one else is here, nothing grows, and 
an hour in here can take a night. i want  
to have ship wreckages, i want to have waves 
crashing on me, washing me ashore 
every now and then at the bank of happiness. 
anything, anything but this lonely.

About the Author:

Precious Okpechi studies biochemistry at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is a recipient of the Singing Bullet Writing Workshop Scholarship. His works appear in Palette Poetry, Lolwe, The Shore, Kissing Dynamite, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. He is Managing Editor at 20.35 Africa.

Feature image by Loke_Artemis / Pixabay