I give you my rain,
the dark verbs and clatter from which there is no returning.
I give you my invented silence.
I give you maps, the crevice from which my cities have fallen.
I give you the small country of my laughter.
I give you lights parsing through lives, the fleeting
moth of days, my hours of beseeching.
I give you the night hours from which I wake a city of salt.
I give you my private animals, the tendrils of dark. I keep away from light.
I give you my silt, its unnamable taste.
2. DIVIDED BODIES
On the train,
I sit outside the port city of my skin.
Those who love me say I have just been sighted
haggling over fish with dark, serrated women
in an open stall in Marrakesh.
Here, the train arrows into earth’s dark.
Four black teens start to hum a loop of love.
One of them leaps unto the train’s pole,
coils his body around it and pirouettes. His arms and legs
become a wiring of beige light. A child on a man’s lap points,
creaks her teeth open and claps. I see my first smile in a century of eyes.
Then quick, like betrayal, two men in plain clothes spring into the boys.
Cuffs. Police batons. In the flutter of bodies, one man
rams his fist unto a boy’s face of subtracted salt.
The train halts.
My body hurls itself into night’s trembling dark.
Gbenga Adesina, a Nigerian born poet and essayist, is a joint winner of the 2016 Brunel African Poetry Prize. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and his poem “How To Paint A Girl” was selected by Mathew Zapruder for The New York Times. More of his poems are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere.