In your afterlife, here or somewhere in the blues, you become an exit wound . . .
after Tiana Clark
to Ryan [not his real name]
You are a schoolboy, twelve. Inside you there is an ocean of wax; and the promised fires of Pentecost are flaring in the garden between your thighs. Every night, your teacher deflowers roses on schoolboys. He lights his candle from your Pentecost fire; and you become an ocean of crimson wax – in you another Christ is crucified.
On the radio, Bob Marley is warning the false prophets. You go to God in prayer – He sends you to the river to light fires. The fire this time is the orgasm of a lady moaning of cities, where roses petal over raging fires. The lady is a flood of lava – burning your sins away – preparing the way for your new found faith in stranger things.
In the middle of the night, your faith finds refuge on a couch made of wax. You are a schoolboy with a garden of roses between your thighs. He is an exorcist casting demons out of his doubting Thomas. He unzips the many mansions on your skin, trembling, as if he could use an exorcism himself – there are demons haloing over him.
In your afterlife, here or somewhere in the blues, you become an exit wound, dead to the music of carrion flies. Your memory becomes an atlas of burning villages. Your portrait earns emojis on Facebook; as the world waits in bated breath for your redemption.
Aondosoo Labe is a poet, writer and editor. His writing is largely inspired by personal experiences and urban nightlife, from an avant-garde perspective. He is the winner of the 2010 Beautiful Lines Poetry Prize and semi-finalist of the 2018 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize. His writing has appeared in Expound, Brittle Paper, ANA Review, Sevhage Reviews, SankofaMag, Quintessential Christian, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @TaurusMayflower or reach him via WhatsApp on +2348099208880.