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is by becoming a half-broken bottle left by the seashore,

is by sending your sighs to catch a memory hovering on water,

is by chasing a wind into a body generously opened to rejections,

is when a dog licks a sorrow on your skin while you're a dead song.

imitation is telling your body it doesn't fit in

everything carrying honey in the hands of nights, nights

opened like a book struggling between a raging storm.

a whistle is planted in my bones &

silence is the new music walking my throat with thistles.

to imitate what isn't coming back

we will form letter 'O' on a mirror with our oozing sighs &

the best part of us will knee where we would never know,

to imitate what isn't coming back

we will step our feet into the mouth of tremor &

sing losses as it wears the smiles of a lover & a broken city,

to imitate what isn't coming back

a butterfly will spread a song in my wound &

add a verse of fire and my brother in a silenced street to it

&i'll still call it love, love for the newly damned.

on the table: a cup of epitaphs, blue insomnia, & a new depression is all I have got to fill my hunger with, so

to imitate what isn't coming back

we'll wear the movement of a dead fish down the foot of water,

& we might not come back.


(A poem of every lost image)

is a poet, a pill that can't heal its


what gives you the chlorophyll of

ruins if not what knows the heat you invent on your

palms daily?

i picture every noon starting

from this body as vacant as a moonless sky.

I picture every moon feeding this body frame every night

with the hunger, it comes with

everything I touched and didn't say a word

have the beautiful moment of my silence. say goodbye. say love.

sitting before what pours every journey

under your skin on your face is bliss. you find it hard to forgive

your insomnia not because you can / can't see it

but because it makes the world cry through your veins:

you'll remember the poem you touched on a girl's absence

you'll imagine a city kneeling with ashes in a boy's innocence

until your eyes are heavy with guilt,

you'll think of the fork of a night writing a longing in your heart,

you'll think about your body as half of what you do not need to breathe well,

thinking will be another war added to your collection, a sack

full of over-sized echoes, &you'll never be transparent

like the back of a mirror, no matter how you try to forget

what shows you the way to a battlefield of your body.


forgives my inquisitiveness-

always to check the temperature of water when my body worships a pyre.

seashells are staring

at my body. trees bending to my silences. I know this

river carries a corpse of things forgotten. everywhere I place my leg is in trembling forgiveness of what's gone.

something pressed a blank book of poems on

my skin &this is my body writhing in its fierceness.

i do not always blame what comes last in my body like a tired light &a drowned blues. because, on a

roll of what happens as healing, I'm the last dying pill.

I carry a century of water on my palms &like prayers; something moves to &fro in my arm veins. maybe

intimacy is when you're close to what opens a war-front

on another man's body.

this soul beats the river's bank as if trying to

lay music of its emptiness into its heartbeat.

this soul, being here, has traveled the wounds

arising from the loneliness of a river without water.

About The Poet

Mesioye Johnson is a multiple poetry award winner, Nigerian Author and Co-author

(co-winner of Green Author Prize 2017) He was also shortlisted for Tony Fernandez

Poetry Prize in 2015. He won The Briggite Poirson Poetry Prize in 2016 while he won

the Eriata Oribhobor Poetry Prize in 2017. His works (poetry) have been featured or

forthcoming in African Writer, Eunoia Review, Sub Saharan and other. He writes from

a small room in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. He is the current Executive Editor of

Echelon Review, Ontario, Canada.

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