Anatomy of Pain from a Boy’s Body
‘Calm down, child’ was a chorus from the stars,
the night I released a soprano of anguish.
Though not pleasing to the ear
like the melodious call of a nightingale,
my voice was surely heard in many places.
Even that night must have had its ear impaired.
Some things come in twos at certain times.
Tonight is not different from
when the stars spoke to me.
Tonight, I howl as the sun dies,
hoping to hear the moon speak calmly to me.
But a young boy pats me.
He is a star fallen from heaven.
He knows the definition of pain
in one thousand and one languages.
He knows grief to be a haunting word.
I hold him in my arms,
strip him naked:
‘No better way to begin the study of anatomy,’
I once told my teacher in school,
‘than to explore the anatomy
of pain from a boy’s body.’
Everything about him is broken.
But he has been carrying a question
like a torture stake.
He asks: ‘Why are boys exposed to the acrid
taste of nature at a tender age?’
This he explains to be an unravelled truth.
And in search of the gloom he speaks of,
I hold his body on my palm and see dozens
of traces of pain
like a map to earth’s belly
holding massacred bodies in bondage.
This lad is here too, like me, though alive,
scrolling through-blood-stained skins
with a ray of light hounding an eternity of perfection.
I plead for mercy
for breaking his little peace
with my yell.
I plead for begging admission
into a course I knew nothing about,
for pains do not have the same structure,
not even the same pain birthed by the same mother.
Then, we lie side by side,
our pains in our palms,
awaiting eternal healing.
In mashed voices of contralto and tenor,
we begin a whole new verse.