SENTINEL POETRY #28
Online Magazine Monthly -- March 2005
Editor:
Amatoritsero Ede

UNOMA AZUAH

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART HURTS

In the monastery of my mind
light and silence share a bend
and at both stations, I have knelt
bruised and bleeding, pruning wild petals
even as my cassock gather stones and dust.
As a gardener in the rose beds of life
I live in supplications, lean food and labor
afraid of invisible thorns--
the closest thorns cut the deepest.
My life is of gazes at metal crosses
the thorns and blood that was Christ's lot
I live to partake of the one thorn ripping through
a clear flesh
in the communion that is a flash
in a pan of bread and wine.
The tolling bell calls
to sleep, waking, baking, prayers in
beads of blunted edges
it calls to vows, reunions, knots and strings of
dangling hopes.
First, there is silence, then a flood of light
my gown shuffles across cold floors--
to summons at the tower of grace. This is a familiar temple…
but it hurts.
In the monastery of my mind
my mother tended well to her children
they sucked her breasts dry--
now they fondle them like a flute
and leave them hanging like abandoned slippers
yet she tills dry soil--powdering her lashes
with caked dust--her feet are brown, and her heels cracked
in patterns of crooked lakes.
Her home is the mangrove forest
and her strides leap across rivers and
swamps where roots choke fishes--
and the marshy soil lay in wait for slips.
A canopy of leaves hover over her vegetation
and her roots are tickled by water snakes
A warm wind filters through the tropics
The canopies wave a welcome
but mosquitoes breed at my mother's feet.
In the monastery of my mind
my lover and I can not lock lips in the wind
there is no name for our game
the other name could be coals burning
and we smile into the faces of strangers
hoping they ignore the weight of what we share--
it's heavy, so heavy--it tilts the globe.
After a long trek in the desert of life
My lover is a festival of meals
We have devoured love and made lust
the aroma that hangs in our kitchen.
I bore my lover like news delivered
to a keen receiver
the message and the messenger merge
in nights of sweat and fear
it's either the heat of the tropics or
the steam of love lost and found.
There is no name for our game
its identity is stuffed like torn papers in the cracks of caves
My lover and I
are eunuchs on the corridors of echoes
the sterility of crosses, silence, prayers and mortality
are the landmarks of our barren landscape.
And after our run for love
we may return as bones gathered
for the place our umbilical cords rest.
Yet home is where the heart hurts.
The closest thorns cut the deepest
Mosquitoes breed at my mother's feet.

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