Prelude to Survival

Nome Emeka Patrick

I am in a darkness in my life where leaves floating down a tree

could mean a disaster rather than descent. Lord, I should break

the bread & hold the chalice to the walls — forge a communion

with everything that’s tried to kill me. I should skip the ropes

& pretend my body leaping off the earth is therapy. Or wait at

the foot of the cherry tree, pretend the blades of grass waving

in the garden are ghosts of someone who loved me before I was

born. Was named a promise — altar erected in place of affection;

but what, now, is this oil spilled on the mirror? — a drowning

where a face should be. My image in the mirror’s lung almost

a façade. I wrote happiness in every diary, & went back to find a

decayed tooth in its place — inked page smeared by the blood

of something that wasn’t born, but imagined. Once, I slipped

into my grandma’s room to be sure she was still there, on the

wall, her shadow, its movement a memento. Some days. I am so

theatre, grief audiences in me: — every uhhs & ahhs rusted pins

tipped into a balloon. Thus, I become a fall, ruins of the ruined.

I can’t tell what year it is in my darkness — my blood whistling like

a whizz — but I can feel the flowers unfurling; dawn rising to meet

dread where, if my body ascends, it must be prelude to a magic —


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