It always starts with your silence, your body running away,
even though you are here and the music is still playing
and all I want is to dance, just to dance baby
but you are really not here and the sea is always hungry
and everyone is watching how you will feed it.
We are in a movie, we are acting
but you keep saying this is not right,
I want to know who made love so wrong.
The director is screaming, his veins are bulging,
I’m shouting leave him alone, it was the words I shouted
when they lynched you in my dreams.
Can’t you see my buttons undone and waiting for your fingers?
Can’t you see the leaves are falling?
It’s the season for wearing new skin,
for pretending you don’t love the boy who rode across your mouth
last night and I understand you are afraid
because your friend’s father gave him up to the police
on his birthday and I know it’s a shitty way to celebrate a new year
but I do not want to beg for love,
I do not want to steal into your dreams.
The DJ is playing my favorite song,
bodies are moving like fireflies dancing by the riverside,
you are leaving, in my hand is a glass of gin and tonic,
I’m learning how to live with this fear of not finding love
in this city, how to watch my waves run back into the sea
like a dog cursed with the luck of finding dead lovers.
The director is shouting but you are already gone
and I’m leaving, drunk and in tears,
the music is still playing, still calling our hearts like clouds
waiting for the miracle of wings.
They will write this as the saddest night alive
but it won’t mean a thing to us, we’ve been hurting
before the earth put to birth.
This work first appeared on Brittle Paper as “Departure” a part of three poetry.
Romeo Oriogun’s poems have appeared in Praxis, Afridiaspora, African Writer, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. Shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, he’s the author of Burnt Men, an electronic chapbook published by Praxis.