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Self Portrait Post-Covid

Sodïq Oyèkànmí




sometimes I wish I could pigeon

–hole my pain/ hold myself against this blood

–red dust/ swirling in my body.


grief is the darkness flattening me into a shadow.



I video call my lover/ the internet—smoke

–screen for our longings.


god’s wounds! I am swollen with desire/ again. 


I—tamil catseye

fluttering out of a tower’s ruin.


I—the last tick-tock

of a chronograph surviving on Zoloft.



because it’s autumn/ my green-laughter is fading to rust.


because I lost a friend to COVID-19 & everything dis–integrates.


because chatting with the therapist hibernates my grief.


because this poem is my mind’s exhalation.   



dear therapist. please/

show me the coordinates of my mind in my body…



I wake up from a dream where my lover kisses my eyelids


sometimes/ that’s all it takes to paint a new world: love.



I watch Kevin Hart’s Laugh at My Pain

& I fill my room with ribbons of white laughter.


now I sing loudly to Omah Lay's Reason.

I ramp up the volume. I vibe. I shower. I break


–fast. I open the portière & welcome God’s rays.



tell me/ what else is healing

if not my body embracing the morning light?

seep in/ slowly.    fill me. fix me. suture my gap



my body—lightweight wafting through earth’s punches.

to victory. to God’s glory.


Sodïq Oyèkànmí is a poet, dramaturg and librarian. A 2022/23 Poetry Translation Centre (UK) UNDERTOW Fellow. He holds a B.A in Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, he won the 2022 Lagos / London Poetry Competition. His works are published/ forthcoming in Agbowó, Aké, Lucent Dreaming, Longleaf Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Passages North, Poetry Wales, Strange Horizons, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Uncanny Magazine, and elsewhere. He tweets @sodiqoyekan


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