Every writer I know writes about grief —
how their bodies wither like feathers of a
bird slapped by famine,
how they kangaroo pain and cheetah their cheeks
into the cataplasm of a smile,
how they forge a church of joy in their loneliness.
Now, let’s pretend I’m not one with grief, too.
Let’s pretend this poem doesn’t carry a firkin of
everything hued in misery. Let’s pretend my body
is a country flagged with joy,
Let’s pretend my heart isn’t arteried in thorns.
Truth is: I am a vagabond climbing the ills of my country.
I make music of my efforts and every dawn,
it trumpets into a dirge. A diminuendo —
the night lits in the radiance of the moon,
I lilt in an island of tears.
Let’s pretend I still burn for hope — hope is a fire.
Let’s pretend I still rosary my fingers towards grace.
Let’s pretend this poem isn’t a cliff, a rope, a scourge,
a night, an opening towards the end.
Ajani Samuel Victor
is a black writer and poet. He was a semi-finalist at the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Writing contest. He reads for Bluebird Review magazine and writes for the Invincible Quill Magazine. His recent works are forthcoming on Snapdragon journal, RIGOROUS, FeralLit Journal, Eboquills Mag, Praxis mag, The Hellebore lit mag, Augment Review, and elsewhere.