Elegy For a Brother Who Looks Like the Man in the Mirror
“Hell is a fabricated figment of imagination” — J. Cole
i said this prayer every time you were lost
you left pieces of you
scattered on the dining table like crumbs & planted flowers with
your feet, trailing your steps to oblivion.
i wear your face like a veil to hide the scars
of mother’s kisses on my eyes. there is a familiar song
of grief stuck under my skin. you played it, too, in your mouth.
on rainy nights, mother starts an impossible task
of counting our years with rain drops.
i plug my ears and cough memories of you in smokes,
of the night your body explained what hell is:
alcohol breaths, pills, a razor, & you
staring at blurry faces looking for a god.
i named myself this word scrapped from my fathers’
which translates to warrior, fighter of wars lost to dark things.
a man once cleansed his son in the Jordan. i was washed with grief
i am a screamer,
silent like the waters behind my mother’s eyes.
i’ve tried to fix my bones in the right places
& eat my reflections from the mirror on my bedroom wall,
aligning myself with broken things.
a man once cleansed his son in the Jordan. another washed his (son) in grief,
& sang to him the soft melodies of the adh’zan with prayers stuck on his lips
that he will someday outgrow the fear tied on his ankles and sprout wings
like the dove one father sent to mark his son.
Abunic Sherif II
is a young Liberian writer and poet. He writes from a quiet room in Monrovia. His works have been published on Eboquills literary magazine, Praxis magazine, Spillwords, and the Ducor Review.