HOW TO MOUTH BROKEN PSALMS IN AN EARTHQUAKE
by Wisdom Adediji
It’s okay to let go. to spread your palms over the clitoris of your shadow
& mouth your fears like the incarnation of a broken spirit.
You danced your lips to your heartbeat hitting your ribcage,
as the sand collects imprints from your vigorous foot.
you’re scared. scared of why the earth have to open its mouth while sleeping,
scared of the tremors escaping its snore,
through the epicentre. the sock waves. fires bashing out of its yawn.
The earth seems like a bouncing castle pricked at its brim.
Before you’re eyes, everything becomes Sodom
everywhere becomes Gomorrah,
you stand still. shocked. like a bag of dry bones,
as water balls skate down your cheeks,
you weep, weep, weep….
but it’s nothing. Jesus also wept….
You remember your teacher. geography teacher.
what he told you about earthquakes,
he said one day, the earth will yawn
& gulp bodies, & crave souls, & spit fire as sputum,
& he too will become a labyrinth,
& many others will be like unexcavated artifacts,
forgotten inside the earth’s belly
& you too will tend to survive,
you’ll stop running around. fearing.
You’ll flee away from walls. from poles. from trees. from holes. bridges. tunnels.
& hold your ground. Cat yourself under the wooden cabinet,
or the strong ancient table in your room.
now, all you have to do is breathe. press the red button on your phone,
& chew psalm 23. once again, breathe breathe breathe & breathe…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wisdom Adediji is a genre-bending writer from the city of Ibadan, Nigeria. His works have appeared or forthcoming on Oneblackboylikethatreview, Arcuute, World voices magazine, Arts lounge and elsewhere. He is currently studying geography at the University of Ibadan and writes from there. Meet him on Instagram @wisdomadediji7.