IN THE NAME OF TRANSCENDENTALS
by Amarachi Iwuafor
In the Name of Transcendentals – Second Runner-up of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)
in faith i write that this poem is not a hangman
even though there are too many lifeless bodies here
even though this poem is a body in timeless regress–
fluid. formless. fragile.
i am still trying to understand metaphors
just like i am still trying to understand my mother and her God–
hot and cold. mist and wine.
just like i am still searching for spaces
where grief is not the aftermath of ghost
not the aftermath of war
not the aftermath of home placed in fire
to negotiate the weight of tragedy.
all my life i have been searching the water
for things lost in the shoulder plate of home & grief.
i do not know how to explain that loss is not the noun
it is the holocaust becoming fluid enough to shift form.
every poem about grief is a dark room.
i have seen silhouettes bounce off walls at the reflection of light
yet neither light nor miracle is panacea for grief.
i do not know at what point grief rankshifts into growth
but i know how much grief feels like passing through the water
yet only a thing made hallowed can truly pass through water.
i know dead men who come alive in dreams
that is to say i want to believe
death is really a form of transcendence
which is perhaps what it means to relive.
poems made of grief are the hardest to hold.
it’s easy to scream into the water
& pretend that you do not hear your own voice
& pretend also that silence is not a form of mockery.
in war i write that this body has no agency to accept more grief
that is to say this body at another
prick will come apart like a balloon or a broken home.
i am several miles away from home
& the only relic i have is a whitening portrait of my father
falling away like an incomplete painting.
home is this painting. a metaphor for the origin of passing.
do not try to disable metaphors like these
because the ground of the metaphor is hidden in grief and pain.