SENTINEL POETRY (ONLINE) #15     FEBRUARY 2004

LOLA SHONEYIN

MUSIC-MAKING

The wild brass accompaniment
the springs gave our love stopped mid-session.
Our flutes have slowly gathered dust from disuse.
Every instrument must have its seasonal oiling:
your fingers have turned to air-headed strings
and my lips are too bitter to blow you new notes.    
Slowly, the depression at the centre of our bed
has deepened into the hollow belly of an old drum.
There, we beat together our conjugal herbs
and slap a dirge from our expectations.

At dinner, we improvise: sit and eat with the children.
I sit. You eat. We are careful to sit with them,
not tear at each other.
My words trail yours as we dip and dive
for our cues in orchestral parenting.
How talkative we have become.
We used to sit and stare, not knowing what to do
with the devastation on our fake china plates,
till we each decided to push aside the yams
and make way for spicy stew.

Our cacophony fills the bedroom:
I don't stumble to the window anymore
to part the curtains so we can giggle
as sunrays penetrate the steam we've spawned.
Nowadays, I find the morning darkness
comforting: My stew swirls warmly
round my waist and spills onto my lap.
You flinch in your sleep when my leg brushes yours
and wake to stir your stew in the bathroom,
I hear it splash noisily across the tiles.

When we watch TV, I hum a tune to myself
and you tap the sofa side with your thumb.
We don't make the same music anymore.
After we've watched the news at night,
we make a few attempts at conversation
but stay away from Jazz duos and Funk.
We talk Biology: the things the stomach keeps
that will eventually seep through the mouth.
Politics: what crept into the north and ravaged the south,
and the hopeless state of our union.

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Editorial Note

The Sentinel Valentine
Month Special

Poems

LOLA SHONEYIN
(Guest)
Like A Split Reed At Waterfront
Music-making
Trysexual
You Shall Love Again

JOSEF LESSER
Fragments Of a Letter Washed Ashore

EYITEMI EGWUENU
Chronicles III

NGOZI OBASI AWA
The Bee Hums Again

BARBARA REIHER-MEYERS
Valentine's Day At
The Laundromat

KODI AZUONYE
Entreaty

DURLABH SINGH
Sleep

DIKE OKORO
Cape Town

NGOZI UNIGWE
Beauty Is You

TOLULOPE OGUNLESI
Lorenzo and Maria

NNAMDI NDU
Substance Of My Dream
Whom Shall I Tell?
Remembering Old Times

Interview
NNOROM AZUONYE
My E-Conversation with
LOLA SHONEYIN

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