Olatunde Osinaike is a Nigerian-American poet originally from the West Side of Chicago. He is Black, still learning and eager nevertheless. An alumnus of Vanderbilt University, his most recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Apogee Journal, HEArt Online Journal, Hobart Magazine, FreezeRay Poetry, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Split Lip Magazine, among other publications.

Olatunde Osinaike

there is a flower shop next door to the church

\ and i suppose all of this is a bit premature \ i mean i drive by a cemetery and my skin is instantly ashy \ the color green starts to grow on me \ and the eulogy is a didactic riddle of sky \ my brother of eighteen years balks with showers of salt streaming \ strolling away from the casket and again \ my skin is an aphorism of chalk \ i always questioned the purpose of sweltering \ before i saw summer now a doppelganger for the swell forged upon his eyes \ and i look away \ i mean i could tell him \ what i was told about time \ that the door isn't holding a stopwatch to his dash \ i mean what exactly do you take \ when your plate is laying there shattered on the floor \ and i suppose a mother is standing nearby \ after repeating herself earlier to grab the plastic \ a sanitizer of contrite for our rose-colored palms \ and
i suppose this is what happens \ when the quiescent street weds all of our streams into one \ so effortlessly \ and isn't this what humidity loves \ a time flat enough to sit on \ a prodigious wash to nod along to \ an endless procession of hemorrhage \ and since we are in the vehicle now \ and since the tint to the backseat window matches my outfit \ and since witnessing means confessing the dead bodies' secrets \ i'll instead keep my gaze straight \ toward the green fixing to turn yellow \ talk to him again about loitering \ tell him to pick up the obituary \ there is still every reason to become the bouquet \ there will always be a time \ for us \ to be ordained by the sunset \ or even the dinner table \ doesn't even matter \ if there's a tangent \ or rather \ some winter we have yet to meet \ doesn't even matter \ how soon the limbo \ or circumstance \ we will beat

The poem "there is a flower shop next door to the church" gathers its value personally from what I believed I did not have growing up. That absence was certainty and, even more, that my surroundings embellished that fact. In the greater series of my most recent work, I try to utilize that as a flashlight in a search for the intrinsic resolve of joy. With this poem in particular, I begin that journey sharing in the shoes of my younger brother, just as much a young black boy as I was and am still. Certainly, I think it is that joy always that should lead our progression to conclusion. Often times, when I am pushed to reflect on remorse and death, it seems like there is an expectation for us to channel and pull our pessimism from society; whereas we have every right to do so, I lend the most pause to being patient with myself which I think is a necessary exercise. It is one I tend to struggle with by the day, but it is rewarding, if nothing else, for the awareness of what is and shall not hinder me from living.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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