If Covid-19 Wasn’t a Stain in the Wind, Would the Earth Bleed Any Less?


How often I want to sing you a song that greets
your body at the water level of history, more than
ten decades of trees and bushes and sun.
Like I say, your body —a product of salt &
music —takes the circumference of a circle, so there is no
wildfire sitting in your throat.
We reflect the things we have received, by
tongues or nature.
There is this paradox round the sun. But
are you not the daughter of a first-born?
I am not saying you do not
suffer the weight of a bride’s corpse
every time a tree dies (in your name). I am not.
The rain is enough proof of sadness already.
I’m saying, to the eyes that can feel:
does it not sting
when the earth runs out of moons?
Broken glasses in the night go all the way
into the wind to tell that pieces of what is
forgotten still keep their light. You just have to
see (farther) and call them stars.
Is it not what we all sit for: to be perceived
to be what is other than a lost country?
Whatever winds that eat up our sins
must have a map of our body somewhere.
Is a pandemic the weight
of our collective penance?
I cannot say, or even speak a language that
does not possess war.
But I can look in the eyes of a girl-stranger, stare
at her follicles till she asks:
who will tickle the earth when all the trees are dead?

Anthony Okpunor