Two Poems by Nathan John:

HEM

© 2018 by Nathan John

 

We were on our way back again from one of those camp meetings,

where we waited for the spirit to take, for the dove to descend.

 

We found ourselves in the back of the Ebenezer church van,

both too tired to drive.

 

And I pretended, in the slurry July night, to doze,

nuzzling into your shoulder’s warm dimple, ignoring its initial stiffness.

 

I know you are not yet used to my missing you,

my adolescent temple resting on you again.

 

I work through your tense suit sleeve, kneading it,

dampening it with layers of sequined sweat.

 

I always wondered how you did it.

How you rose up every Sunday and implored the saints to love a father.

 

How you bellowed, and cajoled, and shook in his name;

and the way you spoke of his son.

 

He must have squeezed it all out of you. Leaving us now to find worship

with a hot moon, chorus of cicadas, and reels of Tidewater hills.

 

 

 

 

SOMEWHERE ALONG FAJARA BEACH, THE GAMBIA

© 2018 by Nathan John

 

The prickly smell of just-caught

tigerfish makes market.

 

Even the fisherman’s catamaran

quits in time for supper.

 

Sunset football match:

up-kicked sand

freckles the eye

just long enough

to coerce a blink.

 

Thatch makeshift

palm umbrellas

spot the coast,

ebbeh red,

yassa yellow—

 

new mothers forewarn high tide.

[© 2018 by Nathan John. All Rights Reserved.]

Free Your (Funky) Mind! Autumn 2018

 

Modernist Africana Poetry of the Americas (MAPA)

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