The night of your baptism
your native name sounded like a bullet
lodging itself beneath your tongue in a tedious
Later that night, you would come to hear your
mother cast pleas onto God's palms
in exchange for a son who will know how to make everything rise out of his new name
but beckon tragedy.
You lean into me on a Sunday morning and ask
where on your body it indicates 'dedicated'.
Sometimes you wrestle your body out of
smoke screens and cigar urns as an invitation for sacredness.
You are slowly turning into a testament,
of how to first name a boy after thunder and make
his baptism name a thing you will wake
and sleep to,
how to pluck turbulence from his riotous youth
and bless the girl who rummages through the syllables as intentionally as is intended
how to hold him through tragedy
and release his body into spasms of merry.
It is April again.
The sun is folding itself into a shy epiphany
and the clouds gather to spectate to indicate
the outset of rain.
You lean into me and ask where on your body it
We sleep through the turmoil of a war-torn anatomy
slowly settling into itself.
As gently as your body curls into mine,
I am learning the theatrics of your body
as a recipe for religion.
I have mastered the pattern of your bad habits in the morning.
I have found contents of your ash tray strewn
to my chest on days
you are no vessel enough for dwelling.
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.