The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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The creases on your palms draw road maps to your body.

I learnt of loss and how it attaches itself to your body
from touching the palms of your hands
more than I did hearing you speak about it.
I once put forward my arms
in supplication of a vessel
you could gravitate into
and a plea arose from your breath;
as if to ask, how much of bodies adjoining is
enough consecration?
You still offer me your open hand where
I have asked for your disclosure.
Your elegy still rises from your mouth like an incantation;
as if to let something heavy leave,
as if to let something lighter inhabit its place.
The creases on your palms draw road maps to your body;
tell me you abhor this much healing
without telling me you abhor healing,
tell me you revere the rejoining of bones,
call me a harbor for a body I have not willed into
its dismemberment,
thank me for laying out a sanctum before you reach for me,
tell me you desire communion with your whole flesh,
tell me how, if I can hold the confessions of your body
with both hands for a little longer,
they might arouse a testament, of how long a body can withstand
its tragedy
before it is sufficiently a dwelling place, a lifeline.
Before it is a sanctuary.
The creases on your palms draw road maps for my fingertips.
Tell me, in your plain and familiar language,
isn’t this how bodies begin to adjoin?
That you remain in me, and I in you?

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.