Two Poems: Plot In Which The Story Trudges Towards A Supplication and […/…]

Plot In Which The Story Trudges Towards A Supplication

I have taken an axe to my own ark—begin again, the work of destruction.

Million trembles in my heart roaring like a million galloping hooves. I’ve taken

my life in my hands, left the knife out to rust. Mist—something tells me 

it fits my dreams, the blur of God’s directions, the slur of Their wild voice.

I stood outside the temple, waited for centuries, just to trace my heartbeat

back to God. Turns out the horses of my heart sleep under moonless clouds,

rise again at dawn, gallop along the blades of a rising sun, its glaze shaping

them into a riddle. The fact is: I have read the script. It says: God speaks to me

in a strange dialect; it says I would know when God’s hands graze my body.

Two books opened—my life a page filled with letters that sing, rhapsodies

spilling forth like ink—a mystical smudge, really. I bring my hands to the

throne, to God’s seat, but I’m met with the susurrus of silence—the dance

of a lone scarecrow in a greenfield. I speak now in the voice of a child, I speak

simple: my voice tuned out to carry my ache—a wounded whimper. This is

the only pattern of prayer I was taught: kneel until the blood travels across

the hole under the door; plead till my voice wrestles the silence to sibilance.

What’s this blur in God’s face? Why do I sink in the space between survival

& salvation? I prance inside my worry —wolf of the wounded —possessed

by the urge to pull out my heart. Omo, I no suppose dey write all diz things:

I mean who pulls down their bridge just to show how deep they could drown? 

Na smol help I dey ask: make me genuinely happy, lord. I guess I’m far again from

where I started. I take my hammer to work—begin again.


We are (not) obligated to loss, (but) our hands must be ready for the shovels.

Our mouths must sharpen with the hymns at the grave’s dull edge.

When the body falls, we must drag it into its place of rest. Right?

Rest in peace —it sure goes beyond that, doesn’t it?

We must keep the tricks alive if we must pass through twilight to dawn.

We are the only riddles left for death to solve.

I am big enough, the spiders in me build an empire & name it creed.

Fluent in the dialect of a premonition, I stay a mile away from the clan.

You suppose understand say love big wella so sometimes you gats make yourself

small to fit inside e belle…You suppose know say person hold the candle no mean

say him be the source of our light…I mean you have to see the flaws in our bones.

I cut the branches, build canoes. My clan attempts to build a heaven with bare hands —

My pipu, these things take blood & more blood, don’t you get it?

We speak in the creole of light and love. We dance even if towards our last.

The gate rattles with grief. The chariot breaks into racing—a singing storm.

Happiness is a less hotter hell—who cares how we burn now?

All hands believe they are creating something larger than a mystery. Yea?

It is so quiet, I can hear the wolves eating the moon for supper. Good. Can you?

The myth usually goes south: the clan either feeds the beasts a heart or 

the beasts eat them out of their mornings…gives them a clean mourning.

We are made this simple in our communion, this simple. 

Do you understand what the revelation says? You don’t?

We have been swimming through slaughter towards salvation.

Cover Photograph: Olu Famule

Nome Emeka Patrick

Nome Emeka Patrick is a Nigerian poet. His works have been published or forthcoming in POETRY, AGNI, TriQuarterly, Waxwing, Hayden’s ferry Review, Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior Review, Kahini Quarterly and elsewhere. A Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and Pushcart prize nominee. He emerged third place in the Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets, 2020. His manuscript ‘We Need New Moses. Or New Luther King’ was a finalist for the 2019 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria. Say Hi on Twitter @nome__patrick