SANCTUARY WITH THE BURNING SELF
I mirror my dreams above my shoulders
and they appear half-broken, almost headless,
ravaged by the dark spots that inherit the
wrath of fire. I’ve always been a boy that gathers
himself, ember by ember, to feed
what’s left of him the spite of a turbulent body.
what more do I know?
I’m a burning place setting free. the
truth is: I can feel the white of my
bones get eclipsed—dying things beclouding
living things. I leave them to be the way
this place says it doesn’t know how to
save us. but I’m one of a saviour myself:
I’ve saved myself from the shackles of
empty heavens to preserve my dwindling
lights. I oasis of my existence. I camouflage
into fluorescence. I bloom. I firefly because
the beauty I stretch for wrestles in the
dreams of my dreams. all I want as a
wanderer is to beautiful in this chaos, and
with a home. there are walls crashing
in these stories to squash what’s left of us.
boys exsanguinate, boys live. but notice
how our hands can’t hold waters for long?
that’s always the closest we’ve gotten
to loving. I hear “don’t worry, boy, you’ll
be fine” through the smoke suffusing
the wind but I know that’s just a way to lie.
I know being fine means being un-alive—
torn apart by thorns and fire, & finely ground
into memories. say bloodstained petals are
metaphors for war. I elegance in a war
that pares me open in a nightmare like
the tooth of a scalpel. I Icarus and live.
what bleeds is inside me; a turgid animal
that longs to fountain out like molten magma.
I get it drunk and crash-land into the
memories of waters where I have
forgotten how to drown.
Muhammed Olowonjoyin [TPC III] is a Nigerian poet and a student of Biochemistry at the University of Ilorin. He was third the runner-up in the Nigerian Students' Poetry Prize (2022), and was named Honorable Mention in the Kreative Diadem Poetry Contest (2022). His poems are published or forthcoming in Writer Space Africa, Olney Magazine, Stanchion, Poetry Column NND, Brittle Paper, Quarter After Eight, The Bitchin' Kitsch, TSTR, and elsewhere.