Learning to Plant Trees With My Father While My Mother’s Ghost Sings
By Nome Emeka Patrick
i am planting trees inside a dream blur enough for even God’s eyes.
in the distance, my father’s voice dances in the wind under the wings
of golden seagulls. my hands are in the soil which is why i am smiling
at my father’s words today, we are going to plant trees so many that
we will build our houses & raise an empire amongst them, right son?
my mother’s ghost kneels at the feet of an aspen, hair a fountain of curls,
sings a song that opens with my name, & i am once again a blue eulogy.
my father walks to me with a head of flowers which is why i remember:
this is a dream of greens. He says son, we are fulfilling mystic promises.
He says son we are building a place where the birds can slip into our beds
& make our rooms into a soiree of music. I am opening my hands, slowly
to show him my soiled palms, to show him what miracle grows there.
i stand inside my father’s working shadow, how he lowers a seed into
the earth like angels gifting dreams to newborns, & that’s why i remember
this is a dream of dreams. everywhere, i think angels disguise as the wind,
wash through our bodies while my father wipes sweat on his green apron.
my name grows in my ears like an echo –my mother’s own jar of prayers.
son, here, come see, father gestures me towards the last tree, says, this here
boy is yours. Nurture it, son, like your dreams. I say yes, a bird leaps out
of my mouth, which is why I remember i am in the middle of wild trees.
My father’s voice unfurls in the wind & mother’s ghost sings the best eulogies.
Nome Emeka Patrick is a blxck bxy and student in the University of Benin, Nigeria, where he studies English language and literature. A recipient of the 40th edition of Festus Iyayi award for excellence (Poetry) in 2018; His works have been published or forthcoming in Beloit poetry journal, Crannóg magazine, Puerto Del Sol, Notre Dame Review, Gargouille, Gaze journal, Algebra of Owls, Flapper house, Mud Season Review, The Oakland Review, Barnhouse journal and elsewhere. His manuscript ‘We Need New Moses. Or New Luther King’ was a finalist for the 2018 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He writes from a small room close to banana trees and bird songs in Benin city.