Enter into this garden and
swear by everything holier than flowers,
to call everything by its name.
Watch the scarlet laughter of roses,
like children conceived in the search of nectar.
Watch their lush unfurling and
call it petal. Not boy.
Watch the scarlet, and even as a thorn grows
in your oath, call it scarlet. Not blood.
Reach for the soil where it thirsts and call
it a season. Not country. Not where the skies withhold rain. Not where the
earth is softened only by blood.
At the edge of this garden, the earth is tender.
Call this tenderness a seed, and watch the boy sprig into return.
Ọbáfẹ́mi Thanni is a genre-bending writer whose poetry was nominated for the 2021 Best of the Net Anthology. He is a reader at The Masters Review and is currently making attempts at beauty while applying for a citizenship in Lucille.