we play charades with shadows

by Opefoluwa Sarah Adegbite

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”        
                                -Matthew 5:4

Let me play a game.
With your mind, with the
night. It doesn’t matter
which. I cannot discern the two for
the life of me – on days like this the
moon is your eyes, my child,
your cold skin, the blatant night,
Spicy words are mixed up with my tongue,
fighting each other to get out.
Verbs congregate at the door
of my mouth and I am
left with bleeding gums. You
sit opposite me, a thorned rose,
untouched, gallivanting through fields
I am too scared to enter.
What would it be to know you again?
to know that
stars shake at the plucked string
of God’s voice,
soft words like violins,
that earthquakes rise at the stamp of a foot.
Tsunamis are just a
culmination of His tears.
I wipe away my own and start again.
There is no one sitting
opposite me. Just a ghost.
That field is gone now, replaced
by apartment blocks, gaping mouths
of scaffolding and hoodied figures.
And a small boy with paintbrush skin wails for
his mother. This is no game to play,
child, this
charades with shadows – the
rules have outwitted me long ago and
my tongue feels too fat for my mouth
and too full of fire.
The lies of grief spill out
from my body unto the floor
and I watch them with dead eyes,
lie forlorn
among roses,
        and other things.