Poetry: Something in the Air Wants us too Much by Anthony Okpunor
Anthony Okpunor faithfully leaps into the wellspring of trauma with “Something in the Air Wants us too Much”—a wellspring where the rules of reality break down. Yet, from that trauma, from that disorder, Okpunor has gathered a surreal web of beauty, even love, a “way to press the sun” into a lover’s eyes.
Something in the Air Wants us too Much
“I watched the Sergeant aim, the deaf boy
take iron and fire in his mouth—
his face on the asphalt,
that map of bone and opened valves.”
—after Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic
It takes fifteen months, seven weeks,
nine days, twenty four seconds to notice
the birds take off at the sound of silence.
In fifteen more days a soldier
will light this body up, say our veins
could make puppet hymns.
Something wants to break us but there is
a way to press the sun into my lover’s eyes,
her words: stop being safe
with me fall with her hands round my shoulders.
If we are all deaf, who among us will hear God
when He screams: pick up your son & run!?
Our silence wakes the moon more often than once, the body
takes flight when water against the skin is the tongue of run.
In another six days, nineteen hours
& twelve seconds, I will come home to find
my lover dressed in the full color of her skin.
My seas are twenty days hungry before the
flood starts, then when we touch
everyone hears the miracle of ocean & songs.
My lover’s body is a feather dipped in frankincense.
How do I manage war outside you? I wonder
how many stars died in us
when he swallowed all that sadness— who even
goes after a child that just wants
to sit with God’s butterflies?
To my lover I will say:
when they come for me & I’m not listening, show them the
spot where our body last ran mad— no one alive or sane should
want us this much.
Anthony Okpunor is an emerging Nigerian writer who discovered poetry and writing in general, as a better form of self expression. He lives and writes from Asaba in Delta State. He is a student of the University of Benin at the time. He was shortlisted for the 2019 Nigerian Student Poetry Prize. He was also shortlisted for the SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize 2019. He emerged as winner of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (poetry category). He was a finalist for the 2020 Palette Spotlight Poetry Award. His works have appeared on online platforms including African Writer, Praxis Magazine and Rattle.