Memory as a Measure for Grief

     Timi Sanni

 

     after reading Taofeek Ayeyemi

 

My grandfather fought in World War II

& buried bits of his soul with every dead

till he became the husk of a hollow soul.

 

He was harvesting yams that August morning

when British soldiers came & molded his hoe

into a gun. The plantation became a memory.

 

Home became a battlefield —an opera

hosting an orchestra of gunshots and blasts

as deathly cries filled the air like a melody.

 

Last night, on the sidewalk, my father

couldn't breathe. A cop knelt to prey on him

for salvation from the sin of his black body.

 

His name wasn't Floyd. A nation wouldn't burn

to mourn his death.   I fold my fist into a stone,

light it up in fire & take the first step into power.

 

I mould words into pebbles to hurl at the sky

in hope that heaven hurls back my father

as rain, his scent filling the place of petrichor

Timi Sanni is a writer, editor, and Muslim literature advocate. An NF2W poetry and fiction scholar, his work appears or is forthcoming in Palette Poetry, Olongo Africa, Down River Road, Drinking Gourd Magazine, The Temz Review, X-R-A-Y Literary, and elsewhere. He is a reader for CRAFT Literary and Liminal Transit Review and an editor at Kalopsia Literary, The QuillS and Upwrite Magazine. He is the winner of the SprinNG Poetry Contest and Fitrah Review Short Story Prize 2020. He was also nominated for the 2020 Young Writers and Creatives Award. Find him on twitter @timisanni