BY Oluwaseun Fakoyede
in pulling a wild weed out of the soil you anticipate the
sight of its roots multiple thin veins pulled out of hope.
it is harsh to lose a grip. i doodled a boy on a little-bitty
parchment. he hangs on to railings dangling for his life:
whether he will fall depends on the strength of his grip
and the worth—good, toxic of what he’s holding on to
and it’s what we hold so warmly that dangles us as bait:
page after page of questions i am asked and those i ask:
i couldn’t tell you the fabric of a reliable life i hear love
is the new polyester and hate the new gun the cold will
tell how warmth is. imagine a vegetative state. no don’t
imagine that. imagine fish wriggling free of gurgling sea-
water, poking holes into its greenly, dreamy stream see
if we can be fish we can be bird. in this town husbands
take off because wives give birth to triplets. there is joy
and there’re shades of joy it takes structure to label fear
just when saying ‘mouth’ cannot garner enough power,
you say ‘jaw’ for its timbre of danger. or depth. you say
we have to account for some apparatus of teeth or grit.
you say jaws of death. you say howls. you say snatched.
some words are not enough to fill a throat they pass as
bleed of saliva swallowed some words are not ample to
pick perfection some, like flattening into a shade of me
a shadow of rain is a dry zone a shadow is joie de vivre
being blocked by a body look at my skin how thick it is
the Adélie penguin abandons her nest if her chum goes
missing. there is always this one exemplar of the animal
we are. it is a plant since someone dug a hole to bury it.
when is a hole not a hole? stuffed with whatever fills it,
every rotund peg in any you-tell-me-what-caste-of-hole.
this soil is a student of rotten words, learning how well
to decompose, gnaw at every pie of material in its maw
i couldn’t tell the story of my life once i haven’t lived it:
there are the eyes i pray to in the inversion of all i see—
o doodling hand i revere your faculty. o hand that pulls
in-between the struts of things fall and things fall apart.
Fakoyede Oluwaseun is a Nigerian writer and teacher. He received a MSc in Functional Analysis from the University Of Ibadan, Nigeria in 2015. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Stoneboat Literary Journal, Five2One Magazine Online and The Borfski Press. Oluwaseun is @seunfax on twitter.
Art by Michelle Johnsen
Michelle Johnsen (art editor) is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by AP, weather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.