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after Sleep Token

Even the nihilism
that managed to keep

me alive has remembered
its purpose. Whatever

held me together, kept
me bridled, has fled.

The stars drag themselves
out from my body

& leave a hole, pouring.
There, I dwell in my red.

The blood wells into
a well of blood. There,

in the pool, I unspool.
Emptied. I have no will

to gather what has left
me, what is left of me.

Instead, I crawl,
half-bone, half-bruise,

to the waterbody.
Let the sea rejuvenate.

Let the blue light wash
away the blood. So I

jettison, name the water
Jordan, in the belief

that whatever is named
will obey its name. But

like everything born of
the world, it disappoints

me, lusts after me.
The disillusionment—

all the water seeks is
to swallow weight,

to drown whatever
it holds in its throat.

Tell me, what miracle,
what good do I not

deserve? Before you
abandon me, last shard

of light, witness me.
Am I not beautiful

enough for joy? Lift me.
Let me rise, ascend

the ruins of this place.
Place me above

the carnivorous sea.
See, seawater moving

with teeth. See—
water rising up to my

teeth. I will not let you
let me be buried here.

I refuse to be quieted
by what quiets my thirst.

I know I am nothing
to the vast world, that

if I vanish, the hills
won’t fall to their knees.

Only what is cherished
will be mourned for.

The leaf crumples from
the oak, & the branch

forgets, replaces it.
My seeping star. Look

back as you crawl out.
If you do not come

for me, I will become
the blue. I will open up

my mouth & swallow
the entire sea.

Samuel A. Adeyemi is a poetry editor at Afro Literary Magazine. A Best of the Net Nominee and Pushcart Nominee, he is the winner of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2021. His works have appeared—or are forthcoming—in Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, 580 Split, Agbowó, Brittle Paper, Jalada, and elsewhere.
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5 Dec 2022

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