Praise Osawaru

a hypothetical record of existence in a geography of injustice. or not

– after Hypothetically speaking by Taylor Byas

imagine a mother eventually sways her baby in arranged arms,
while language assumes a rhythmic form, escaping her mouth.

imagine time stretches him into the skin of a teenage boy,
& manages to subtract a head from underneath their roof.

imagine the universe heaves the mother, like a javelin, to breadwinner,
& her retail shop becomes the plug, keeping the home powered.

the boy departs his mother’s side, only to reappear in brown boots,
khaki & a half-sleeved vest, the hue of a white canvas.

imagine following a year of service to his geography,
the boy congregates with colleagues to mark unshackling—

a ritual of refrigerated drinks, blaring melodies & unrehearsed
motions. imagine the night stars, sprinkled like salt in the expanse,

observes their drive home. imagine a man in black uniform, both
hands fondling his AK-47, plants himself before a motioning Toyota

& halts a country of bodies. imagine he unfurls an inquiry;
requests a declaration of identity, husky & commanding, as if

his words rendered the first appearance of light. imagine they all comply
but it doesn’t deaden the unwarranted storm hungry for a wreckage.

the man commits to his genuine want—a palm of folded notes,
but a denial converges with the utterance halfway.

imagine he dabs the left-side mirror of the car, a furious god
unwilling to settle for any pint of noncompliance.

imagine the boy alights from the Toyota, his action enraging
the crazed god, & in the stretch of seconds, caps dash into his

vessel of flesh. & he tumbles down; his body, leaking.
imagine the boy’s nonexistence prompts a hashtag, a fire

extending across the universe of binary codes.
still, the man in black uniform maintains his breath, unfettered.


first published in Knights Library Magazine Black Writers Issue