E. I.

Farmhouse / Back garden

I learned the words of love
When I begged to be seen,
And I gained no audience,
But alas I was seen.

But the eye in which I staked my presence
Was the eye that closed to free me.
And the pleas in which I begged them to open
Were the pleas that choked when falling.
And the creature I fought and bled to present,
Did her dance and died all the same.

I learned the words of love,
When they fell like stars
That fell like bombs
From blackened, damned mouths.

But the stars did not singe the dark, torn flesh
Like they promised as they fell.
And the bombs did not herald years of peace
Like they promised when they fell.
And the mouths that billowed smoke and lies
Kept their promise as I fell.

I learned the words of love
From words that meant
Cursed, monster, sinner,
And I took them to heart.

But the curse on which my love was placed
Was the light that fed my garden.
And the monster who made house in my chest
Is the tender of my crop.
And the sinner will reap the harvest,
From which we will eat at our table.

I learned the words of love
On my hands and knees,
And I did not learn praying.
No, I learned digging.

And the hole I dug was deep enough
For us to lay our sad past.
And the hands and knees that ached to please
Are rubbed between your kind ones.
And the words I learned I chant to you
Like I’m praying for forgiveness.

Give me leave, my dearest,
And I will teach you what I’ve learned,
Let us learn to speak once more,
In the back garden of our black farmhouse.

E. I. is a college student currently finishing their BSN. They were born and raised in Nigeria and currently reside in Massachusetts where they have lived for six years. They are currently working on their first full-length chapbook in-between classes. They believe they are one of the bravest people they know because they constantly face their near deathly fear of airplanes.