A PANG OF SPECTER
They came in droves
asking quietly that we not talk loud
or sing rough or dance wild;
their whisper more thunderous
than the roar of death.
Your father’s tombstone resembles
mine – meaning my father’s;
a slaughtered voice resembles
a moldy artwork – meaning our carcasses.
They care less about both
our perforated shadows – these people
perfecting hindrance to free air
showed no interest in refined chimneys,
because your kinsmen cannot be my kinsmen;
because ghosts cannot be docents to ghosts
or wind a forerunner to wildfire.
They came when you were too naked
and I was too afraid. To say stop
when you were just a dry leaf?
We understand that nothing stays afloat
unless there is an artist underneath playing a tune.
They said a special permit is needed
to have our babies look like us. Renaming humans,
our shirtless words suddenly caught their fancy.
But you’re dead and I’m not alive; and
they sure cannot imagine how hard for us
pulling the straw that connects this world and the next.
BOLA OPALEKE lives in Winnipeg, MB. His poems have appeared in a few poetry magazines like The Puritan, Sierra Nevada Review, FIVE Poetry Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Miracle E-zine, Poetry Pacific, Drunk Monkeys, League of Canadian Poets feature, St. Peter's College (University of Saskatchewan) Annual Anthology (Society 2013 Vol. 10), Pastiche Magazine, UK Poetry Library and others.