“As Element Might Like It / Mermaid” by Okwudili Nebeolisa
As Element Might Like It
Helium as small as a mole, bombarded
to bleed light through the filament, print patterns
on a lady’s new gown, the temperature
read on charts with isobars whirling
with the intricacies of petals.
At dew point even sound has got a shape
as in a dream where it keeps vibrating
and is emitted in a toll the way
Death comes and escorts a relative
to the stream and never returns with him,
to slowly shovel a chasm, this light,
this unitary dance that ends with metre,
that is done in only one night and is
remembered for a hundred more years,
and is kept vibrating in a week’s time.
Ada had gotten more intimate with
water than with anything else, just as
water becomes silk becomes fumes curdling
to clouds to disappear in a storey-high
wave. Ada underwater for two minutes
like a spear focused on the massive flesh
of a whale, her pulse slowing to a crawl.
But after so much cold, her brain had
become steel, all its synapses now
cords that wouldn’t stretch when electrified –
it’s most likely that after so many years
she’ll forget that she ever came to swim.
Now, more than any other night, she was called
away from all of us so that one hour
she was sharing beer with us and the next
we were hearing the sea’s flat beds filled with
illegal sounds like lashing our stubborn sons,
bearing the thought of an empty grave
and moths heading for the bluest light.
Nebeolisa Okwudili (@NebeolisaO) has his works featured or forthcoming in Ambit Magazine, Saraba magazine, Yuan Yang Journal, Kalahari Review, The New Black Magazine, Munyori Literary Journal, and in national dailies. He won 3rd place in the 2011 ASiS international Writing Competition in the poetry category.
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