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Sailor: A Poem by Victor Oladejo

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The day the trees bore me died,

I, the son, stood on the edge of the cliff of my mountain and peered

At the wreck of my ship,

The ship that carried me there.

My ear became a palace of voices,

Voices that danced with promises made of glass:

“We will help you,” one said.

I guess that was my uncle.

“We will shelter you,” another said.

That was my aunt.

But they shattered while I held them.

So I set out to sea alone,

My head filled with memories of nights

When I tasted gold with my fingers

And birds marveled at my joy,

A sun-bright like the Sahara’s.

Blood is thicker than water,

This mantra escaped from my lips.

For where is blood when a brother cannot deliver a brother?

I closed the door of my heart to love, family, friends, and foes,

And I surrendered myself to wander in the symphony of life.

It was a journey filled with many crossroads

Until we encountered Sade.

That very hall was filled with golden light,

Drowning us in its powerful radiance.

The sun itself was a witness to a beginning

And a promise stronger than glass.

You taught me what it meant to see your butterflies unfurl

And search the mystery of your garden.

I started dancing before the hides of my drum knew

The palms of my hands.

Suddenly, I knew which map to follow.

The journey of my life started.

For in your love and warmth,

The tides of my life said yes,

To the wheel of my ship.

ii

Yesterday I woke from a dark dream filled with forgotten voices, my heart a swinging pendulum begging for comfort, then I felt your fingers on my neck, the tips searching the maps on my skin,

I turned to hold you, to feel you, to grasp you with the excitement trapped in the body of a man who stumbled upon a pouch of gold in a lonely field.

But they retreated into a frustrated clinch.

You were not there; my treacherous mind was at play again.

I find solace every day in the calls we share and I read our messages again and again, taking each word slowly with the elegance of a lead dancer in a troupe in service of a king.

I savor them and get lost in them, but they are never enough.

They say time creates despair, I find those words true,

The last letter you wrote from America ended with: I can’t wait to return to you.

Those words made my mind tingle, and I decided to write this ode about you, my light giver.

I am not so good at the game of waiting, I fail terribly when I try to sit in the shade of patience.

I struggle every minute to express what my mind can’t express and these words that bear no comfort but endless trials at consoling a mind that refused to be consoled.

I need you here, I need you today, but I can only wish.

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