sketches of memories drawn by grief

(for Kaosarat, a sister whose leaf withered in her prime)

i’ve watched leaves raining down from their mother tree,
yours was a droplet of salt on our wounds.

prelude: [a pair of school sandals reminds me of you / i decided to bury you in my heart— i branched the market / the seller— what size? / i was hydrated, counting the length of the earth, of your leg, until time burnt like a candle at my feet / size… 42!.]

it started this way: you traveled and

                          you unwear your body while returning.

you knot your breath to a song and it untangled, 

                                line after line, till the lyrics leached.
no one could refill a drying ocean, unless 

                a raging rainfall. no one could fix your breath,

unless miracle. & miracle is costly
                                in the doorsill of death.
in the eager prayer for living.

pause: [a man squired his children into a haven and emptiness enveloped him— welcoming the dawn and dusk in his static point / a woman cooked for the world, and death didn’t allow her home everyone’s compliments/ a mother of one, prayed into the handful of sand and sprayed it on the forehead of that –only one– son in his grave.]

isn’t it funny how a man becomes a fling 

of memory in the hearts of his people after his demise?

this is how everything is— we came from
abstraction and wear voidance in the end.

play: you became a dim light joggling 

                to darkness inside wind, in the arms of a man 

thinking flowers could still
                              sprout out of your body. though,

your body, but you don’t, tell. & you,
                  but the man still clung unto you, tell—
you put a full stop to your breath that

                       turned to syllables and stresses of words.

you hold onto
the word laa’ilaaha illalahu.
onto light. onto paradise.

           let there be freedom. let this fire fade.

let me fly to Firdaous.

*Photo by Carlos Torres on Unsplash.

Abdulbasit Oluwanishola

Abdulbasit Oluwanishola, SWAN V, is a young Nigerian poet and essayist who writes from Ilorin, Kwara State. He’s studying Agriculture at Usmanu Dafodiyo University, Sokoto. He is the winner of the PCU Eid Celebration on-the-spot poetry contest 2023. He was shortlisted in the Dawn Project Writing Contest 2023. His works are up/forthcoming on Rowayat, Poetry Journal, Poetry Column, Ninshãr Arts, World Voices Magazine, Last Stanza, The Marbled Sigh, Invisible City and elsewhere. He tweets @OO1810107.