by Pamilerin Jacob

breathing mindfully, you are
already finding a refuge in your breath…

–         Thich Nhat Hanh

was it not Simone Weil who said

of prayer:     an attention absolutely unmixed…

my brother prays in the holy ghost

I too, pray in something holy      corporeal

these lungs, tireless as a turbine

churn     my thoughts

blobby         see, I

too rebuke darkness by panting

23,040 times a day      cathedral of awareness

I am the straightening of pleats    warm breath

filling the day’s apertures.    & 

in church

when the pastor says           pray, I breathe

deeply       count the hairs on my middle finger

as they rise somewhere in the follicles, a

man is heaving, prostrate. an


executioner’s blade midair

about to cure Africa of one less apostate

&—the man—he pays attention     


to his breath.

Source: From the Rebel Issue (October 2019)


PAMILERIN JACOB is a Nigerian poet whose poems have appeared in Barren Mag, Agbowo, Poetry Potion, & forthcoming in Rattle. He was the second runner-up for Sevhage Poetry Prize 2019.  Author of Memoir of Crushed Petals & chapbooks, Gospels of Depression, & Paper Planes in the Rain (Co-authored); he is a staunch believer in the powers of critical thinking, Khalil Gibran’s poetry & chocolate ice-cream.




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