ISSUE No. 6

Clerestory

A clerestory is a window which allows light and air into the body of an old building. Clerestory Magazine stories and storytellers are like windows through which the pain and beauty of the human experience shine.

The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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The night of your baptism

The night of your baptism

your native name sounded like a bullet

lodging itself beneath your tongue in a tedious

funeral practice.

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

of baptism,

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

indicates 'dedicated'.

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.