Praise Osawaru

Time travel to the period of the first birth & other poems

Praise Osawaru

Praise Osawaru

Praise Osawaru (he/him) is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his work appears or is forthcoming in FIYAH, The Hellebore, Frontier Poetry, Rigorous Magazine, Lit Quarterly, and Roadrunner Review, among others. He was a finalist for the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2020, and he's a recipient of the NF2W Poetry Scholarship. He's a reader for both Barren Magazine and Chestnut Review, and he's on Instagram & Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.

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Artwork By Adesoji Adeshina

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Narrated by Praise Osawaru


Time travel to the period of the first birth & other poems

Narrated by Praise Osawaru

misinterpretation [of love]

some nights he’s a tidal wave & you drown

as he scripts his love on your back.

& you understand this language

in your sleep, he wakes you with it.

he’s a thunder        the raging 

kind that arrives in the company of a rainstorm.

to him, love equals raking the ground

with your bones, netting fishes with your skin,

gifting you trembling fingers & wounds.

they say home is a dome full of light & birdsongs

but your body is unaccustomed to such wonders.

he says he loves you                  

like your mother,

too weak to bear his love &

hid somewhere in the earth.

but this time you’re a windmill


as you roll, you’re a shadow

fading into the wall.

a boy cries to God

mother is sinking into the white space--

a vastness     where dead birds float.

the hands pulling her down, attempting to

extract her from our clutches into a dying song

disguised as acute myeloid leukemia,

an envoy of the realm of darkness.

yesterday I strolled past a cemetery

& saw a headstone toting my mother’s name.

I think it was unaware its act grew 

wildflowers     from my open wounds.

I’m unready to compose a dirge that portals

me into a galaxy of grief.

dear God, can you hear the shouts of a mother 

wrestling turbulence in a body of saltwater?

dear God, can you hear the piercing verses

my heart howls     night-long?

dear God, I do not want to know the weight 

of silence an empty home carries.

time travel to the period of the first birth

a boy upholds his father’s name, disallowing it from extinction.

I know this. but the mother’s fervent love ensures his existence.

Omodion. first child. your arrival like downpour, soaked

our lives in swelling merry. call it euphoria. call it the

melting of hearts for the celebration of three. this world

unceasingly makes attempts to darken any appearance of light.

I know this. but you’re a star, ablaze in daytime & nighttime.

your laughter, a heavenly sound, cracks my face into a grin,

& commits to silencing the troop of naysayers in the guise

of in-laws. with this life I cram you from dawn to dusk,

I declare you the capital city of jubilation.