The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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The Anatomy of Grief

That December, the dust did not settle properly on his sister's graveyard.
During the nights, you could swear that his hands all over you were doing more than keeping your body too close.
His mother's vernacular could not hold death's name properly
on her tongue, so she wailed,
and let her turmoil seep intently into his testaments.
There is only too much mother tongue
in a prayer that a mother can infuse to bring petitions
to the ears of God,
before it is a riot.
That season,
you asked to rummage the contents
of his body and gather its history and he handed you a
war torn anatomy.
Some nights,
you huddle your bodies together
and sleep through his inaudible muttering.
Listen in,
there is a tremor happening in his mouth
whenever you are pursed to his lips.
Whatever else it is,
it is him calling on the night for just a little more mercy
on his mother's behalf.
Some nights,
you are strewn to his chest like contents of his cigar
are strewn on the ashtray
and you could swear that his hands around your body
are doing more than keeping you from the cold.
Other nights,
he will heave over your incandescent lips
and ask if you think the earth is
warm enough,

Naomi Waweru (she/her) is inspired by love, vulnerability, the yearning of bodies to be free in their connection and has an eye for tradition and culture. Her writings present an adoration for the body. She portrays it as your first sanctuary. She has works on and forthcoming on Merak magazine, a voice from far away webzine, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, Kalahari Review, Poems for the Start of the World Anthology, Ampleremains, Afroliterary journal, Overheard Magazine, Artmostterrific, Lolwe and The African Writers Review. Reach her on Twitter @ndutapoems and Instagram @_ndutapoems.

Discover more from Naomi Waweru.