Self-Portrait with a Questionnaire

By Timi Sanni

(I sit before a mirror in suit, before a reflection

that paints fantasy on my body of nightmares)

-Tell me about yourself

What you see is a wilted plant, a sorry flower

My first father was a flower who lost his petals

in the field of living, the second sold his fragrance

for a home in this country, then came home

to refugee children carrying the putrid smell of death

I rather tell of grief

Do you know what the tears of eleven children taste like

when they are shed beside the grave of a broken mirror?

(the mirror wears a puzzle of

confusion upon its four-cornered face)

-So, how do you see success?

How I see pain, or the absence of it

How I see the numbness that ravages my being

when all that is left in my eyes are salt crystals

when my body hides the ocean

that runs within my veins, to keep the promise of living

-What is your dream?

 I am drinking milk & honey

in that lush garden, east of Eden

that carries the scent of my homeland before

it began to carry bombshells, bullets

& the remains of my brothers in its womb

–in a land where nectar bursts

upon my burnt tongue,

where I blossom among glorious flowers

like a beautiful agony

where Sabbath finds me everyday

in a dream within another dream

Reality is ugly to my mind’s eye

-Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

A [ ] died today

& [ ] never saw it coming

What are we if not threads in the tapestry of fate?

& five years is too long a time not to think of death

Say, you wake up one day to find me

beneath the soles of your feet. I mean

a cop could bury me within his mistake

it doesn’t matter that already

I am a dead living upon a walking stick, I mean

A walking stick could be taken for a gun, right?

-Why do you live?

because when a man carries the souls of seven children

within: (i) a broken body, (ii) the promise of bread

he realizes that the hunger of seven bellies is enough death

because when they make music out of a man’s death

he vows his last blood in a second coming

to break the flutes & beat the drums to destruction

© Timi Sanni

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