Aderolu Nuriyah

Aderolu Nuriyah
is a Nigerian writer who writes poems and short stories, seeing it as ways of telling the world things she really feels inside. Her works have been published in various sites and magazines.

Shattered envisions

Home, as little sister wrote in her journal last month,
Is a place where blessed souls find peace swimming
In pools of happiness.
A place where love birds find joy in releasing emotions
Under the moonlight,
Relishing dreams and memories.
Home is all you can ever dream of, hope laced with tranquility,
Home could never be forgotten.
Now, little sis writes with tears in her eyes.
Home, a place where wretched souls find solace in broken homes,
Where broken bodies swim in pools of betrayal and sadness.
Where burning houses replaced the sweet smell of flowers.
The letters spelt in a little girl’s cries when her body is being taken,
Forcefully by men like her dead father’s.
Home could be disguised as the agony a mother feels when her son is being
Dragged away, labelled as a creature meant for business purposes.
Today, home has been forgotten.
For home represents a broken piece wrapped in sheets of torment and pain,
Never to be fitted into the puzzle of life again.

Colours and chocolates

The man at the paint shop laughs again
as I stand up, repeating my request
Sir I need you-
To paint me
The colour of your skin
He may think I’m crazy
But I know I’m not
A number of bodies lay down on the ground like floor mats
Only this time I know them all
A sister, a friend, and the coffee lady’s daughter
All cause they decided they needed to be free to live.
Looks like the painter wants me dead too,
I guess this drug pills are the easy way to take.
Maybe in another life, I’d be free, free from being caged cause my body is the colour of their dark chocolates.

Little prayers

Mama scolded me for gazing at the stars last night
In this world of ours, dreams are things we are forbidden from, our only purpose perhaps
is to help others achieve theirs
Little Nene kept raising her hands up high,
Counting her prayers one after the other
One; for baba landlord to stop sleeping with mama as our house rent
When this happens, I think real Mama will come back
With her grace, pride
And immense love for the stars that glow the brightest
That way we’ll watch them together again
Two; for baba to safely return back home after being sold,
To people who dealt in gallant warriors and those who made them tender-
As softened cucumbers on a bent stalk
Overgrown
rotten masculinity
Three; for brother Ike to finally find a job after three years
For the fine sand to delete his footprints from memory
And the heat of the sun to come like the rest will, in some time
To book appointments to shine on my brother
Once in a fortnight would do
And four; for us to be free from slavery
Weakness
Sunburns
and all.

Winifred kijie Odu


Winifred kijie Odu
is a Nigerian,  she is a writer,  an activist and a humanitarian.  She looks forward to a time when many will be free from hurt and pain, her prayer is that all who reads her works may find healing for their past. He works have appeared previously at Poemify, Eboquills and forthcoming. She writes from Benin city. She can no longer watch her people die in silence and seeks to add her voice with many others that the brutality may come to an end. 

 

ENDSARS


We speak, we speak, we speak,
For our voices can no longer rot in silence
We’ve come out in our numbers
We come we come to regain our lost pride

We’ve been stricken a million times
We cried in silence
Thousand times we’ve been injured
We bore unbearable pain
But we’ve come in thousands and millions
As one united nation ‘NIGERIA’
We’ve come with our voices
Louder like a trumpet’s call
And all we say is “EndSARS

They steal from us and tag us thieves
They rob us and place their guilt on our innocence
In their eyes we are scoundrels
Punched, kicked, and often left in cold blood
We are left to die like smugglers; without dignity
We’ve seen more than enough so
We’ve gathered roaring like wounded lions
And all we say is EndSARS EndPoIiceBrutality

They rob hands with decadence
And strip us off our innocence
But they are our supposed defenders
They hold guns for to protect our community
But end up destroying our tranquility
They are our supposed peace-keepers
We have seen enough, more than enough
We do not ask, we are not begging
We are saying EndSARS EndSARS EndSARS
EndPoliceBRUTALITY  EndMostationOnNIGERIANs

 

A NEW NIGERIA


We can no longer sit in silence
And watch our beloved country desecrated
We can no longer fold our hands
And watch our nation folded like paper

We want a new Nigeria
A Nigeria of peace and harmony
A Nigeria that gives heed to her people
A Nigeria of no corruption
A Nigeria where our rights are restored and preserved

They’ve turned our public offices
To their household businesses
With their grandchildren and great grandchildren
As ministers and senators

They’ve toiled with our land
And violated our rights
They’ve sold our freedom
And placed us as their car engines

So we come with one voice
We come like mighty warriors
Not like beggars but like land owners we are
We come that our stolen dignity be restored
That the tears we’ve shed may be the root of our renovation
That the pain we’ve endured may be the source of our transformation
That the misery to which we’ve been fed
Becomes the spring that flows with a “NEW NIGERIA”

We want the nation our forefathers fought for
A Nigeria of no brutality
We want a nation whose pride is her people
A NEW NIGERIA

Somjeeta Pandey

Somjeeta Pandey
is a poet, research scholar and an Assistant Professor of English. Her research interests are rooted in crime fiction studies, feminist literary studies and dalit studies. Her poems have appeared in The CQ: A Literary Magazine and Global Poemic and will soon appear in Faces to the Sun: A Mental Health Awareness Anthology and Point Positive Publishing’s Rebloom Anthology. She can be reached at 
somjeeta072@gmail.com.

Mirror


I looked at myself in the mirror,
Smeared my face with mousse and compact powder,
Tried to draw a winged liner, changed into a new dress, wore heels.
I looked at myself again in the mirror.
Ah! My saggy double-chin!
I vehemently dabbed the powder puff to hide it.
My tummy bulging out from beneath my crop tee,
I took a deep breath and tucked my stomach in,
Temporary measures!
My wide thighs, too wide to be called aesthetically pleasing, were peeping from my denims.
I looked at myself again.
My boyfriend calling me a fat pig flashed in front of my eyes,
Called me a typical behenji, for wearing salwar-suits,
He asked me to draw inspiration from his ex-girlfriend who was beautiful and tantalizing.
Mocking my oiled hairs, he had thrown me out of his car in the middle of nowhere because my    ugliness embarrassed him.
I was too unattractive and simple to be his girlfriend.
And now here I stood in front of the mirror, trying to recover from the humiliation I had been       subjected to.
I could no longer hold my breath, my tummy bulged out again, I noticed the stretch marks spread like worms on my infected body.
I screamed and wailed inside the locked doors,
I caught hold of the layer of adipose fat that has stubbornly clung to my belly since my adolescent years,
I desperately wanted to slash it off with a knife,
I pleaded and implored to fit in, to belong, to be called beautiful.
I looked at myself in the mirror again.
My kajal had smudged, the make-up had started wiping off, mirroring a grotesque hideous           caricature,
I choked. I suddenly felt pity at the reflection.
This was not me,
In a vain attempt to please his eyes I had ended up creating a travesty of my own identity, a          distorted mimicry of his beauty standards.
I wiped my tears and with a sudden urge I stood up.
I held myself in an embrace… I wanted to my scars to heal.
I changed into my salwar-suit, wore my kolhapuri sandals,
I let my body breathe, heave a sigh of relief,
I looked at myself in the mirror,
This is me.
It is now time to end the drama and heal my scars, recover my strength,
I will fight the body-shamer with renewed ardour and fervor.
I opened the door and stepped out of the coop,
Call me what you please, you cannot break my heart anymore.

(Note: behenji : a woman who favours traditional Indian clothing, music, etc. over the Western equivalents. )

Smoke on the Cappuccino

I take a puff from my cigarette,
My cappuccino has arrived,
I slowly let my senses bask in the olfactory delight of the caffeine.
As I take my first sip, I find a man staring at my naked legs,
I stare straight into his eyes and he flashes his nicotine-stained teeth at me,
Two women walking past the counter watch me with raised eyebrows as I take another puff,
My tattooed cleavage possibly posing a threat to their morals and culture.
I take a bite from my chicken club sandwich.
The guy sitting behind my table is constantly trying to read the measurements of my body,
Abruptly he comes up and occupies the empty chair in front of me.
Calling me a pretty face, he quickly descends to praising my tattoos and my voluptuous curves.
He slyly rests his hand on my thighs and winks.
He quickly scribbles the name of a filthy little inn where he would be waiting for me tonight.
Turning my charm on, I give him a smile, a seductively naughty smile,
I skillfully take his fingers into mine,
I slowly twist them, stamping his feet with my heels all the while.
He shouts in pain and calls me a bitch!
I laugh out loud this time.
Although I abhor the idea of wasting my coffee, yet I could not but just throw it on his face.
Picking up another cappuccino from the counter, I walk towards the exit.
The man with his nicotine-stained teeth is still staring at me,
I look at him, my stern black eyes,
He suddenly chokes on his cup.
I laugh again!
As I walk down the street, I light yet another cigarette,
This time I take a long puff and let the world disappear in smoke.

Jonel Abellanosa

 

Jonel Abellanosa
lives in Cebu City, the Philippines. His poetry and fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary journals and anthologies, including Windhover, The Lyric, Thin Air, Star*Line, Poetry Kanto, Loch Raven Review, That Literary Review and The Anglican Theological Review. His poetry collections include, “Songs from My Mind’s Tree” and “Multiverse” (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York), 50 Acrostic Poems,” (Cyberwit, India), “In the Donald’s Time” (Poetic Justice Books and Art, Florida), and his speculative poetry collection, “Pan’s Saxophone” (Weasel Press, Texas).

 

Cardiac Arrest and Resuscitation


Why do you mist my weight
and miss me?

I’m the boat, I’m the paddle.
I won’t have the power, nor the echolocation.
I’m stationary, restless wing of bones, arms,
fingers. Underground river knows ways in/to
my ribcage, ways water secretes syllables
in stones. Flows me with the lift, cave blues
now deep now dark now surface or lark.
Look, crested flight, elegy, crust of light.

Why do you weigh me in,
wait till I’m in?

At the foot of the bed, you three. Come
before curtains blue. Sorrow oh ceiling,
all string and ring. I hear you say sampaguita,
grandmother voice heavy with decades
I didn’t see you. My skin rind, citrus smell
insectivore, passerine bird. I’m flycatched.
I hear you say citrine, father voice
with decades I didn’t see you.

Drip the weight with me.
Drip the wait with me.

Boat faster. I’ve never seen spires,
conical time halts. Taper oh pain reliever.
I’ve never seen trees are mountains.
Sky wrinkle, bird flight, boat slower.
Vines, intravenous tubes I glimpse.
No other name for pain, but not painful.
Never seen leaves are buccaneer hats.
You offer me lanterns, letting no rain.
I beg no crown dweller, nor stranded seer.
The land’s shoulders shake.
I’ve never seen tail feathers are leaves.
Parakeets. But you found me, Paraclete.
You found me, grandmother.
You found me, father.
Let me view my life, from birth to rebirth.
No mention of my name.
I’ve never seen such verve and vigor,
jubilant choir, riverbank grasses.
Floods from my ribcage rise
to my eyes. Painful except it’s not pain.

Happiest to see my dalmatian
but I forgot his name.

We kiss like kidneys. I watch the lift
where guilt watches, inhale from my friend’s
spotted fur. Fires beyond the bridge, firemen
hoisting tubes into my skin. IV fluids blue
as tongues. He was their dalmatian. He was
salvation, barking the dialect. I wave the white
flag, hear the Fibonacci eye. Pull the landfall,
crash into my chest of weights. Stampede
the strait below my throat. If not for the storm,
if not the torrential, water my eyes.
I know him, but it’s midmorning.
He was a puppy, but he wasn’t a puppy.

But not the aural anagram.
But not the aural anagram.

Draw me in, hypnogogia. Pull me out,
hypnopompia. Burrow, word fossorial.
Latin fossor. French excavateur. I’d badger,
naked molerat. Subterranean fauna, digger
fusiform, spindle-shaped bodies, blood suck
me more. Anxiety for 24 full moons,
transparence. No mirror hangs my house.

When next the counterflows, hallucinogen.
Never seen a skull as huge. O and O hollow,
caved nose below, draw me jaw, silver
teeth. River an oily serpent in my chest.
Grow a continent as molt. See, the heart’s
torus field, how peace speaks air.
I’m grateful, for more than some years.
Yes to the dot of light as it grows,
I’m home. Lightning strikes the elephant
on my chest, my body electricity.
Beams through my skull, green. It isn’t pain.
I don’t want to return. Take me with you,
grandmother. Take me with you, father.
Lead, furry friend. But they’re gone.

It wasn’t painful
but it was pain.

 

The Guitar


Plucking, strings luring
like sunflowers, the heart
teachable. Intros I play
again and again, notes from

the A-minor chord making
me remember Frost’s minor
bird. My desire to polish
echoes the fault in me.

Learning by trial and error,
mastering through measure,
I practice left fingers to
anticipate, right fingers

to lead, the music flawed
but whole, brief as sunlight
through windows, brevity
repeating pleasure.

John Grey

John Grey
is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.

DOOR TO DOOR

My grandmother says there was a time
when men came to the door selling vacuum cleaners.
The salesman would do a demonstration,
reaching into his pocket for a handful of dirt,
tossing it all over the floor before she had a chance to protest.
No matter. The fancy new machine would suck up
not just this new filth but the stuff that was already there.
Save her the trouble. Then she’d inspect the job he’d done,
say something like “Thank you” and nudge him out the door.

Then there were the ones, kids sometimes, selling encyclopedias.
They barely got a word out of their mouths
before she cut them off with a door slammed in their faces.
Same with the beggars. Same with the guy selling home-made fertilizer.
This was before people got vicious dogs, she’d say.
Strangers weren’t exactly welcome but nor were they
torn to shreds for their unwanted intrusions.

When she was young, a man came to the door
with this skinned sheep.
He was desperate. The beast was going cheap.
Meat was prized in those tough times, even mutton.
Her father bought the carcass, hung it from the rafters
in the chill of winter. The family ate well for a week.
Nothing was wasted. Not the stomach. Not the brains.
What couldn’t be cut by knife and fork
soaked its away into a steamy broth.
She still remembers the sheep’s dark, round eyes.
Not accusing but sad. But folks were to hungry
to take a meal’s feelings seriously.

She says the last to come to her door,
before she moved into the nursing home, was a woman
trying to sell the wonders of cable television.
Grandmother didn’t send her on her way immediately.
They talked. Grandmother thought she may
have babysat her mother many years before.
But cable TV sounded too much like the future.
And that was no use to her. She couldn’t look back on it. 

Paul Brucker

Paul Brucker
“was active in the Washington, DC, poetry scene in the early 1980s, I put a lid on poetry writing to go to Northwestern University’s graduate advertising program to earn a decent income. Nevertheless, I have succumbed to writing poetry again. I have been published recently in “The Fishbowl Review,” “The Decadent Review,” “Prachya Review,” “Coffin Bell,” “Ray’s Road Review,” “The Bangalore Review” and the anthology, “The Pagan’s Muse: Words of Ritual, Invocation and Inspiration.””

Wisps

A beautiful day like today
upland, yellow-eye
melodies of a man drowning in flames or holiness
and all he did was sew buttons and talk
wide-open goggling eyes, like cows on hillsides,
with no revelations left to reveal,
no beliefs

Green pears that ripe in infinite complexity
and hang in a dry kind of death
to honor the fixed and waterless clouds,
devotees to death who use long words
wrongly stressed to affirm our love,
witlessly, monotonously unenlightened,
unspooling the carnage of creation,
as we search for who we love in sun, mist or snow

How small they look onshore
hitch-hiking along route 81 south of Syracuse
A beautiful day for people to become landscape
clumsy, obeying the laws,
waiting for the light to change
and scatter wisps of intensity
left behind

Olajuwon Alhaytham Adedokun

Olajuwon Alhaytham Adedokun
was born in 2004, Olajuwon lives and writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He is a Foyle Young poet of 2020. He has been published in many magazines, Praxis Magazine and Writers Space Africa included.

Colours and Synonyms


The girl I once asked God for
now bleaches her skin into darkness, laughs hysterically
at the white – orange burning
of her esteem,
names it beauty.

My Chemistry textbook says
Chlorine is a bleaching agent,
I imagine her bathing with it,
her mother, standing by the bathroom door,
saying Black goat, Too black from my liking.

She, peeling her own skin
into the colour she likes.
learning new synonyms with
the fire on her lips, saying,
Black —Goat,
White —love.

Ajani Samuel Victor

 

Ajani Samuel Victor
is writer, (performance) poet, author and political enthusiast who hail from the pace setter state in Nigeria. At the moment, he is studying Physiology at the University of Lagos. He is a writer at the Invincible Quill Magazine, and a Trainee head at Earnest Writes’ Community, his works can be found on IQM, Feral Lit Journal, AlphaWrites, Solvicblog and everywhere else. He is a weird guy wedded to a blazing dream of tomorrow, lenient as whatever definition you give to that. Cool in all sense. Not a bibliophile. Partially spiritual. Serendipity is his definition of sanity.

 

SARS IS A METAPHOR


The voice of eighty million phone
pressing generation sparks like
thunder in every news flash
CNN reads: “angry youths wants an
end to police brutality in Nigeria, #ENDSARS.”
But what is SARS?

SARS is the big tummy guy
in the green chamber
Tucking the nation’s fortune
For a seat of sleep in
his disgraceful paunch
at his seventy years of existence.

SARS is the bad road along
Lokoja, Benin city and Bida
SARS is the death gulley express
way that drove Shola and eighteen
others to heaven when he was twelve.

SARS is the failed manifestos
Of our governors and president
wrapped with the goody-goody
of election rigging.

SARS is the darkness that
covered my street for six months and
eight days when the rain fell
for thirty minutes in 2019.

SARS is the song of guns in
the head of “laptop-carrying”
young’uns in my state.
It is the kick in my friends
balls for being a youth here.

SARS is the sum total of
bad governance spelled in
Special Anti-Robbery Squad
jackets and armors,
SARS is a metaphor.

 

WE DIE HERE EVERYDAY


Yesterday, my brother met death in a stand
I don’t know his father but his
lifeless picture I saw on TV
said he was my brother
A shot was enough to get him
gone beyond.

We die here everyday and that’s
not a metaphor
Our electricity company has a rope
strangling their cables and wires
So the bulbs in my room is masked
in cobwebs.

Our president hasn’t spoken
about the bullets in the youths
throat for the past five days.
I guess he’s dying in small
doses.
We die here everyday and
that’s not a metaphor.

From Borno to Niger Delta
and/with a sway down South-west
the voice of death yelp thunderingly
than a roving aircraft
We die here everyday and
that’s not a metaphor.

The streetlights that blared
in stunning embers along
Airport road two weeks ago
is now buried in the repulsive
arms of darkness at 11pm
The rain that fell yesterday
uprooted the poles.

 

OF DAYS NOT LIVED


Some days, I’m just a wind blowing
Across the Sahara desert.
                   So I watch as the ticking
Hands of my watch pirouette me in
                   The wings of a twenty four
Hours ride.
On days like that
                  I’m a widow in ashes
With a sack cloth of blurry hope
And tunic of dying fortune
                And of a dark heart
Waiting impassively for three moons
To sail by.
Regret is another name for
                Days not lived.

BARRACK


I swear to god we live in a barrack here
We wear sorrow on our necks like
Travelers handbag
Hoping to drop it before
The centurion calls halt.
My sister’s workplace is an
Arrow in her back
She’s having insomnia
And Fsc115 is a teargas to
My eyes I can’t see the formulae
In my lecturer’s textbook.

Mum and Dad is in the
Guard room
They were copped for
Trying to wipe my 3 year old
Brother’s tears— he’s scared
Of rifle.
Price of fuel and other
Commodities drops like
Molotov cocktail every news hour
I guess that’s why Grandpa
Died of hypertension.

Our sky is amethyst
Penury and privation is written
In the star dust
I may soon be fifty at
My twenties if I don’t see
A way out of this Garrison.

 

FREEDOM


My grandfather said:
Freedom is a haddock swimming
In water with no hook
Grappling it gill;
Freedom is the breeze
Whirling in space at night.
But here,
Freedom is a 60 year old
Learning to mumble “yes” and
Hold her feet on
The floor.
It is sometimes a
Gun on my head and a
Bowlful of beans when
I stand to cast my vote.
On the 15th of April, 2014
I found freedom flowing
Like a river
In the hot tears of 276 girls
Up North.
Freedom is the fluid
of men and women
Spouting facilely on farmlands
In southern Kaduna.
Freedom is in the swords of nomads
On the head of farmers.
It is in the potholes and
Pits on our roads that
Ushered my friend to the
Province beneath my feet.
Sometimes it is the men in black
Battering you in an incinerator
For having a brown hair and some ink
On your skin.
Freedom is a hate speech
For hitting the nail on
The head, a mirage, a bloodshot
Of shackles.

 

Jessica Rich

Jessica Rich (previously Standifird)
is a writer and performer currently pandemic’ed in a basement apartment somewhere in Portland, Oregon. Her work can be found in journals and anthologies, including Unchaste Volume II, River & South Review, Bear The Pall: Poems on the Death of a Parent, The Manifest Station, and more. One of her pieces was read by Parker Posey and Ed Harris at a gala for the East Coast Writer’s Guild in NYC. This all makes her sound way cooler than she actually is. Jessica would like you to know that none of this matters as much as Black Lives do.

 

Skin-Cage

The claws of my father
stretch up and down my stomach
the way age stripes memory.
Deliberate.
Deep.

Markers of events I sometimes try to forget but can’t.
They grew with each child I carried.
Jagged reminders of how we tear our mothers apart
to enter this world.

Doctors say it is simple:
a matter of skin and biology.
But 5 years old, 6, 7, 8, and others,
especially 14,
know better.

Fourteen knows best of all
the foreshadowing of aching pink and purple.
Of Vitamin E slathered on skin so close to broken
I could feel his breath there still.
One more sigh and I might burst.

Fourteen was there when he created
the blood hieroglyphics
I would wear the rest of my life,
pulling shirts low and pants high
to cover the shame
of what was done in the name of salvation,
the ruin of the name, “Father,”
the things I am perpetually forgetting.
The ancient language carved into
stripes on my skin
turned to loops in my mind
that continue to spin even now, into year 50.

His nails have been ash for eleven years.
The skin-cage below my ribcage has turned the lightest blush.
Biology and generational tongues faded to dulled silence.

Deliberate.
Deep.

#FuckCancer

     for Henrietta Lacks’s legacy

Henrietta you danced.
You danced like the world
wasn’t strapped to your back
shaking cells loose all the way
from your           painted             toes
to your     careful               hair.
Shook like that music made you,
soul in your hips and your wide eyes
laughing secrets to your sisters across the dancefloor.

Henrietta you visited every week.
Visited the                    lost one,      the misdiagnosed,
visited the    House    of the      Negro           Insane
like it was a home made for mothers
to love their silent daughters,
her existence erased
to everyone but you.

Elsie.

Your daughter, your blood.
You visited Elsie and she clung to you
like a final prayer.

Henrietta you waited.
You waited like saints wish they could.
Walking to treatments and returning
quiet as the cells di-vid-ing inside you.
Didn’t say the word cancer
until you were at the top of the world
until your closest friends couldn’t escape,
feet           dang-
ling,      swinging,
merry-go-round revelation
I have cancer
and the ride started to spin again.

Henrietta you walked.
You walked to Margaret’s house
after every treatment.
Walked more slowly each day.
You lay on her couch with a sigh
and showed her your burnt belly.
Radiation-charred skin.
Your words echoing for generations.
“It’s like the blackness is moving through me.”

 

Inheritance

Preamble:
Clouds scattered on your back,
shoulders thick with the gathering,
legs bent and hips loose.
Soon you will rain
into the earth.
Feet digging the soil
deeper than salt,
imbalance feeding the deep.
You, deep-feeding
on imbalance.

Poem:
Tomorrow never sings the way I imagined.
I mean, the way the music of it made you
bend and dance, guitar in hand
generations in your throat.
I expected celebration, excitement, you know?
The hope that comes with movement.

Instead I inherited the realization of weight.
I was gifted the way it carves curves into your body,
hollows your back and burdens your neck.
Today, I dance because I am pushed low
with the music of promise
unsure if what crosses my face is
a smile or a grimace.

 

Another Day

 

We watch from the porch
cigarette smoke twisting between pieces of sky.
Blankets around our shoulders
to pretend we aren’t numb
as they carry you from the trailer,
face open to the rain
until the shroud swallows you.
A gulp that expands cancer’s throat.
The daffodils you planted
hang their bloom in shame.

“5:42,” your daughter says over and over.
Time of death.
Phone call after phone call.
“5:42” is her mantra.
Your fiancé and the mortician carry your body
to the curb, slide you into your last ride.
They shake hands and together close the black hatchback on your corpse,
and I wonder when minivans became hearses.

The mortician gets in and turns the radio all the way up,
singing along as he makes a U-turn
and carries your body away like it’s
just another day.
And the worst thing of all
is that it is.

Jason O’Toole

Jason O’Toole
is a Rhylsing Award nominated poet, musician, and elder advocate. He is the author of two poetry collections published by the Red Salon, Spear of Stars (2018) and Soulless Heavens (2019). Recent work has appeared in anthologies, and journals including Avatar Review, The Scrib Arts Journal, Alien Buddha PressThe Wild Word, and Beliveau Review. He is a member of the North Andover, MA Poet Laureate Committee.

Pity

To kill your god,
an easy thing.

Could write him off the show,
doxx him,
say his true name,
interview his ex-wife.

You’d replace him
with something worse.

Another god who shares
your worst opinions,
encourages you to punish
his many enemies,

forgives you for hurting
his friends.

I let him live,
your terrible god.
Live to afflict
his stalwart believers,

wad them up,
into his seat cushion.