“what is grief, if not love persevering?”— Vision
in a village, a woman on a boat tosses her net
into a lake & hopes to fish her drowned kids from
its yawning mouth. the dark garment in the sky is
without sparkles, a halved moon hovers, & nothing
but owls eat the silence. in Bini, she says take back
this grief, & return the music of my womb. yet the sea
in her heart doesn’t forsake her body. she swears on her
breasts to reclaim her treasures gulped by the threnody
of water. what good is a home crushed by gloom,
when there are no songs to keep the light alive?
when all the air carries are the running footsteps
& laughter of one’s loss stuck in its memory?
day after day, she saddles herself to the middle
of the lake & throws in her hands in the form of a net.
someone somewhere stares at a gravestone, saltwater
from their eyes marking their face, & wonders: why
does everything that begins with love ends with grief?
why is the body a metaphor for a glass—always
filled with something? for weeks, the sun has deserted
the village’s morning sky. perhaps she, too, is held down
by some kind of heaviness, unable to take flight. isn’t
that what awaits us all? fated to be the winged bird that
falls like rain? in the eyes of the villagers, the woman
is attempting to pull a song that has vanished into the dark
back into her mouth. & who does that, if not someone
who dreams of awakening to a sky full of songbirds?


Praise Osawaru

Praise Osawaru (he/him) is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Nina Riggs Poetry Award nominee; his work appears in Agbowó, FIYAH, Frontier Poetry, Down River Road, The Maine Review, and Savant-Garde, among others. He’s the first-place winner of the 2021 Valiant Scribe Poetry Prize, the second-place winner of the Nigerian NewsDirect Poetry Prize 2020, and a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, & the 2021 Dan Veach Prize For Younger poets. He’s a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine and a reader for Chestnut Review. Find him on Instagram & Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.

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