say love


how do i love my roses & my dandelions the way the sun / paints both with the legend of Van Gogh?

for toni

it’s July again & i am on my living desk, watching

the reeds, little rowboats over the happy shrimps doping

in & out of the waters, float by after the rain. she places

her hands, like petals on my shoulders, & says, write,

it’s the only way to reach your father in heaven. as if

poetry is such a holy thing without which no one can see

God the Father. perhaps. i take her fingers for mine,

which appear like roof sheltering the child i am

from the hate the world gives abundantly. i watch the city

as a girl stares at her lover, walk the streets as a boy

throwing stones at the landmarks. i bestride two gardens.

how do i love my roses & my dandelions the way the sun

paints both with the legend of Van Gogh? to find myself &

be at peace with my flowers, i enter the garden through the roses,

the grace of our Lord Jesus rising from its window like naked maids

out of water, here, the light of an archetypal happiness surrounds me.

they ask me in the depth of the hibiscus if i love the world enough

to give my poetry to it, as God gave his only begotten son

to the crucifixion. i do not answer, as if speech too needs a story

of sacrifice to live its dream. i point to the north of my room.

to My Symbiotic Discontent: Emily Flint’s painting of conjoined twins

hanging on the wall, almost becoming a door itself to my salvation.

in that picture, i wear my mother like a fine dress, make my hair

like the queen of England. peacock feathers on my ears. my lips kiss red.

a gown floating like jellyfishes of the ocean. i open my mouth to exhale

the answer, only to say i am sorry for the silence, which is a visible breath

clear as glass. in a mirror of our own, before which i stand, seemingly

propped on invisible words, you see her shot as if by Canon Cameras.

she’s just one poet who raised her verses alone. one little girl, Alice,

when i was a boy. so small like a floret that when i place her in a vase,

i watch myself grow fruitfully.

Tares Oburumu is a lover of God & his daughter, Sasha. He writes from a hole, 23 miles away from Warri. His poems have appeared on Connotation Press, Agonist, Bluepepper, Expound, Kalahari, Praxis, Agbowo, & elsewhere.