with leaflets from the book of Psalms, i create this paper boat, & add wings to it
so i can paddle down the seas of time.
the memories of this journey constitute a prayer, a never-ending one.
in this poem, i sail to the west. this is not a county.
in trying to name it, i search for language, too.
our dreams are wrapped up by foreign tongues
which is to say, life is about crossing borders.
so i placed myself on this paper boat, & i paddle.
perhaps, a day comes where it would capsize, i pray it flies.
for i’ve waited for this miracle — for the wave of the sea — just to watch this boat fly.
lord, if disappearing is as easy as covering the mountain with clouds, & as poetic as
slowly, lord, help me disappear/drown me/or make me fly/way up the sky.
for the memories of a journey don’t end with a farewell, they pile up
with the wind from the sighs that can only be heard at night
i repeatedly capture. i frequently hide.
this journey never ends, it seems like it’s leading to nowhere.
if i can print the whisper of the wind, maybe this journey is one infinite poem
or perhaps, an unanswered prayer.
Ókólí Stephen Nonso
is a Nigerian writer whose poems have previously appeared in Feral Journal, Ebedi Review, Ngiga Review, Praxis Magazine, African writer, Adelaide Literary Magazine, New York; Tuck magazine, and elsewhere. His short story has appeared in Best of African literary magazine. He has contributed in both national and international pages and anthologies. A joint winner of the May 2020 Poets in Nigeria (PIN) 10 day poetry challenge, first runner-up in the fresh voice foundation Poetry contest, and a third prize winner of the Akuko magazine inaugural prize for Poetry 2021, his bio was included in the ‘Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2021’ by Sweetycat press publication. You can say hello to him on Twitter @OkoliStephen7.