Tuesday Poem by Chibuihe Obi

after two swigs of absinthe, i yield myself to the philosophy of grief and memory 


for romeo oriogun 


i’m always lonely in the midst of tongues

keen to note how joy can also mean grief for the one

scanning a bottle of rum for sunlight

only to grope his way home in darkness

because grief    sometimes       is a lover’s tender palm

blinding tenderly

in a bar in kampala     two men lean into each other

unified in lust      both thirsty for one thing     a bristling  river

to drown in

i’ve learnt to observe these things

how a man’s body is both thirst and roiling ocean

how he can drown in a song or dismember desire

there’s a boy who goes to an inn to find his

father’s body in shots of fireballs

he falls to his knees each time

he sees a stranger’s feet floating in the

disco light

he knows how a stranger’s body could be

home sometimes

a temporary tomb that swallows memory

at dawn         he returns to the same

house by the sea           where his father’s ghosts pours back

into coats and become waves thirsty for home

i know to breath is to number the dead         to mourn

in measured sequence

but how come memory clings this

tight to air like a flotsam

returning to shore again and again

every season of tide