One Poem

Michael Imossan



Apocalypse. I swear these hands where poetry pours out of were once capable of
ruin. Unlike you, I will not pretend I haven’t killed a moth before, snatched its frail
wings from a burning lamp. Not to save it but to split it open, watch the light spill
out of its tender self. My palms stained with the beige of its wings as though blood
on a murder weapon. Look how the day opens softly as though scared of being hurt,
as though scared of the splatter of blood on its bright, white page. Once, when I
was little, for want of a bubble, I shook the tiny glass aquarium on our table until it

fell and broke like a secret, the fish wiggling and wiggling in search of air. In search
of a new home. I reckon it is the same with war: a country wants a bubble out of
another country and so shakes it until we are left with a roofless sky. Until ghosts
roam the streets asking kindness from strangers. There’s nothing I want to do now
than stitch a wound together. O the tenderness of a thread moving through a
napalm-crusted city. Pulling together torn pieces, the cracking of a mother’s heart.
The displaced walking backwards to their homes. The homes moulding back from
ash into music – a piano’s gentle voice singing in the night air. I do not know much
about fate, all I want is to offer my hands to the service of healing, plant hydrangeas
and watch them sprout a new green. But to those who believe in fate, why blame
the missile? It is only fulfilling its purpose. Instead, blame its creator. In my hands it
would have been a firecracker.

Cover image: The Knotted Gun, a sculpture by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, photo by Hakan Dahlstrom, CC BY 2.0. via Wikimedia Commons