Somewhere, in a time that is not Christmas
       & seasoned love, people are just getting 

what they want. Birds are migrating. My mind
     still lingers on the asphalt skin of the road.

Running is when there is a shadow of a vulture
     over a man's house, & everything he touches

erects him a headstone. I do not worry about
    tomorrow; I let my oary wings flap me into the 

mouth of a spring, because only there can I lug
    my existence— my hands trailing the water

& my eyes seeking widemouthed daisies or the
   bloom of dahlias in the field of dull onyx stones.

When our father lost his temper & yelled at us
    we searched for rest that stuck to the navel of

our teeth. Joy that was unflickeringly fixed like
    the tendons of our muscles—unripped. What

happens on the road stays on the road, silence
   is an instrument we all are learning to play, the

sea eventually kneels to the rhythm. Everything
    goes up in flames, exile & exile until everyone

hacks up their wildflowers. Our hair mingling with 
     the road, we are raked by the wind onto shore.


Boys my age manned their posts after duels of
           stick-fighting, and watched the sky unroll

itself like a rug. A traffic of stars shimmered
           down their heads like floating sounds.

What was tasted vaguely began as a trope for
           sadness. Soon, the boys claimed they

saw their fathers' reflection in the eye of stars.
          Scrum of flesh whittled by grey-guns in a

time of war. Bony sacraments lodged beneath
          the bruised earth. Yet, they don't say it is a

dream. Because just behind their homes are vivid   
          images of cadavers claimed by a halo of

 flies. When I am asked to describe night, I best
          say: my night has frogs. They keep me

 awake. My night has sunflower seeds. They are   
         scattered and forgotten like my father's 

cremated ash. How did I come to sit in this empty
         house, and wear a name that is not my own?

To watch my step-father pour spittle into a liquor
        and sink his tongue into my mother's mouth?

To watch the moon’s gait recede into something of
        a trot about the market place, in lieu of a 

surfacing. Once, I laid on a river bank with my 
        eyes nighted, listening to the sound the river

made, and then decided that swans are overrated
        like my problems; everything is troubled, and 

so all the air carries now are running footsteps,
       troubled water threnodies, pocket-sized grief,

and bullets faster than words. When the lights go
       off, and the curtains are drawn, I know the

eventuality of my being.

About the Author:

Prosper Ìféányí is a Nigerian poet. His works are featured or forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Parentheses Journal, Lumiere Review, Caret: McGill University Graduate English Journal, and elsewhere.

*Featured image by Goran Tomic