the dead know nothing about dying

by Chibuihe Obi Achimba

the road-lilies waited for us to pass and begone
   their leaves stiff hostages to the shifting clouds of dust
      with two bodies already dead by the second curvet
         what else could fate harbor up its fuzzy hind legs
            if not a growing night

long time ago i was everything before i was made into
   somebody   i gave up my voice to house all the soft-
      boned animals of the wild    all things precious and perishing
         i arrived here and found my past lives half-opened
            to the brief eternities of dawn  crinkling only to burn again

there is something about the sky that foretells extinction
   it is there    in the wheeze of a vanishing jet     the last blue jay
      sucked into blues    long life like the nightbus    arrives either late
         or not at all    yet we praise the road for its gift of distance  the asphalt

for its rippling mirage that echoes    the promise of rain
   for the dead who will die only    because they have to
      how fortunate for us to bless our own dividing    bodies
         to pass through our arches while the eaves are still burning

Published on July 30, 2020