Saddiq Dzukogi Memories by the Sea

Imagine a forlorn child; conceive the sun
that rouses the mouth of the universe. Imagine it
disappearing into the throbbing throat of night—
Imagine the dark seams, thick threads that bind voices
to a giant vault of silence. Imagine me rubbing my fingers
across your picture, trying to gloss your lips with words,
dear child— as you wander off into the horizon.
Imagine your face—still a sky paring down
into my mind, now—imagine the sun
as reverie— and there, by a sea,
I’m leaning to fetch a bit of that firmament.
Imagine this, when my mother says your shadow—
it bedlams inside my body—
a seashell swallows the wave back into its depths.
Imagine looking deeply until my reflection convinces you
you can exist as a fraction outside my corneas.
Imagine you’re a star trancing in my thoughts—
Imagine I dispose those thoughts about you,
in more thoughts about you. Imagine each time
you feel like forgetting something about me— even if insignificant,
imagine glaring the blue zenith boarded in a surface
marred by tides— until the memories split apart
by the sea reassembles like a solved puzzle
picture. How I wish you imitate that multiplicity
and grow into the right
places that would hold you whole. I hear the night holds
on to your voice like a basket finally able to hold water.
Imagine I press my feet against wet sand
and slip through a footprint— here’s a mystery
close to the shoreline. A portal—
Here’s the distance, the vast sea
between our bodies. Your voice still
a light, wading through the dark—beyond
the troughs of separation. Imagine. Imagine. Imagine
how we’ll communicate,
here on— Grieving is the only way I speak of nothing.


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