the voice trails you like a second shadow. except it’s a passenger of the wind, not
the outspread ground, & so it breezes into your ear. like when your roomies
congregated to express boyhood with adroitly-wrapped, slim papers,
encasing weed, it said: Omoruyi, remember where you came from. it came
again when you monologued on the hostel rooftop, under the awning of duskiness
with stars sprinkled like salt. your last semester’s result was a reflection from a
distorted mirror. & so you attempted to befriend gravity. then, it said: Ovbiwmen, home is
in my arms. even when your mother’s body withered with the absence of a soul, the voice
lingered like a lake with nowhere to go. decades pass & you pluck your daughter’s
ears enough to vent: Osarenoma, never forget where you came from.
PRAISE OSAWARU (HE/HIM)
is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his work appears in Knights Library Magazine, The Hellebore, Ice Floe Press, Kalahari Review, Kissing Dynamite, and Roadrunner Review, among others. He was shortlisted for the Babishai 2020 Haiku Award and the 2020 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize. A finalist for the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the Shuzia Short Story Competition, he’s a recipient of the NF2W Poetry Scholarship. He’s a reader for both Barren Magazine and Chestnut Review, and he’s on Instagram & Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.