A Brief Understanding Of Shelving
& like most days when the sun colours my skin
purple. My mind becomes a tourist in our family house,

perusing every nooks and crannies. I sight a yellowed tray 
of steel with flowery designs, mother calls it tray of hope, says

she inherited it from her mother, says it's mine to own after 
her disappearing. You see, I learned this transgenerational

                theory of shelving—the possessions of things; broken,                  
                lost, and unnamed—from my family tree.  
Let's say I walk into the ghost of my past and I only perceive 
an admixture of sweet and sour remembrances, does it mean 
my body is an incubator of plight? Say I look into a mirror and 
crack a smile, and caught a glimpse of the demons that 
punctuates my sleep. Calls me beautiful when I feed his
appetite. Horror slips through the fenestrations of my skin 
and compete for oxygen in my blood wonder how I wander

into unknown places? I bath in this liquor of uncertainty. & 
make a river with my breath. My heart is desert. The river
licks my throat clean, & I lose sense of smell. I close my eyes 
and everything is 
             –a bloody battleground, here the wind taste like vinegar. 
Every now and then I soak up in the sun ray, allow it perform 
this art of exorcism. Perhaps, salvation is nigh. The
redemption of a yoked pride. Mother once told me I harbor 
the sun and the rain, in other words, I am joy and pain, & a 
plethora of their vicissitudes. So, I begin my unbottling; 
snatch my soul from sliding into a shadow, whisper a lullaby 
to hypnotize my demons to slumber. & I only dream of paper 
planes. Let's say I groom a fire within my bosom, its smoke 
chokes these thoughts of regret. would I taste freedom? my 
distaste a dissolving? Here, I stray into a bush of wild roses, 

their petals scrape my flesh–this is a sacrifice for peace, & a 
baptism in dew.

About the Writer

Joshua Effiong is writer and artist from the Örö people of Nigeria, studying Science Laboratory Technology at University of Calabar. His works has appeared/forthcoming in Shallow Tales Review, Rough Cut Press, Madrigal Press, Titled House, Augment Review, Selcouth Station Press, Rising Phoenix Review, etc. Author of a poetry chapbook Autopsy of Things Left Unnamed(2020). Find him on Instagram @josh.effiong and twitter @JoshEffiong

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