I lift my head, my body shapes into miracle;
shakes the river back into itself;
watches as my past ripples away into the river.
I am cornered into the gut of bodies
forming a “C” that opens into the river,
seven priests lift a broom each, say
“these wipe off the cobweb in man’s life.”
In this world, you purchase life for your existence,
lest you become a scarecrow,
lest your world becomes a necropolis.
I look into the river and see my lips
taking the shape of smile, then a crescent appears,
a bird is formed on my forehead.
I wear rosaries as wristband as necklace
as leash for a dog jumping at a sweetened venom.
Seven candles are lit and the night in me
grows a moon as a tree and stars as its leaves.
I handle my future with care.
In the hereafter are spaces,
you acquire yours from here,
lest you die and crash into the throat of bat,
into the bark of trees.
A pot of seven waters (sea, spring, river,
lake, rain, stream, pond) is poured on me,
washes my smile into bubbled laughter.
I fix my gaze at the sky while sitting
on folded fresh lemongrass leaves.
Lips moistened with litanies, with names
beyond the 99 ones that are placed
on the night that darkens it, ones that
are placed on the day and lights it up,
one that produces the various sounds
in birds and animals. The sound of
seven bells sends demons on the run.
A turban is worn, a new me is born.
fondly called Aswagaawy is a Nigerian lawyer and writer with works appearing or forthcoming in Lucent Dreaming, Ethel-zine, the Quills, The Pangolin Review, Minute Magazine, Modern Haiku, Hedgerow, Acorn, Akitsu Quarterly, Seashores, Contemporary Haibun online and elsewhere. He won Honorable Mention Prize in 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, 2019 Morioka International Haiku Contest, 2019 Soka Matsubara International Haiku Contest, 1st Prize in 2018 Poetic Wednesday Poetry Contest and 2nd Prize, 2016 Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize. His chapbook Tongueless Secret (Ethel Press) and full-length book Aubade at Night or Serenade in the Morning (FlowerSong Press) are forthcoming in 2021.