by Joseph Hope
Issue 13: QTPOC

Abstract Wood Burning by Gabriella “Coco” Wyatt

Seeing the pomegranate tree
I thought of you again:
Stumps scattered, weathered
topography licked by nature.
A false compare indeed,
but the feeling isn’t.
Your face is a long road,
retracing is hard as destiny.
The river, the river frogs
the house and the departed.
At the corner of the room,
memory lingers like a faceless ghost.

A bridge I cannot cross stares back
at me as I tried sawing my way through
the thicket standing between us.
O land you aged, sparse vegetation
like gray hairs dropping to the floor.
The disease that plagues your face
also plagued my tongue—because I never understood
the words I couldn’t say
the extinct alphabets
cleft to the roof of my mouth—

My root is sweet on paper,
but bitter on my tongue—how many years
does it take to outlive one’s identity?
I searched for you inside the brains of a thousand ancestors,
looking down the shroud of emptiness,
your song gradually sounding like metaphors
inside a lost journal.

Seeing the pomegranate tree,
I thought of you but couldn’t remember
your true face. In some abstract pages
in an unused library—home awaits empty
by a river—home awaits on the flying notes of a river frog.
I dissociate in my dream
to the countless places your body must have broken into.


Joseph Hope

Joseph Hope

Joseph Hope writes from Nigeria, West Africa. His works are forthcoming or already published in Augur Magazine, Solarpunk Magazine, Reckoning Press, Timber Ghost Press, SprinNG publications, Evening Street Press, Zoetic Press, The New Verse News, PRAXIS Magazine, ubu., Derailleur Press, Spillwords Press, Writers Space Africa, anthologies and more. He’s a reader for Reckoning Press and was a fellow in the 2021 SprinNG Writing Fellowship. Find him on Twitter @ItzJoe9 & Instagram @_hope_joseph_writingpoetry.