Deal gentlyWith thoseSore of Soul
For whomEach invitation
Or word spokenIs wound to sea-salt
Or boilCut open.
ForgiveTheir furrowed browsAnd punch of air
Their voiceA treble loud
And their swellOf chest
Thick and reddenedFor years—
Must be softly lickedAnd pressed
Till they thawGive off pusAnd slowly clear
And the sea-horsesLong buried within
OvertimeBegin to revealThemselves.
Abayomi Animashaun is a Nigerian émigré, who came to the United States in the mid-1990s. He holds an MFA from the International Writing Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a PhD from the University of Kansas. His poems have appeared in several print and online journals, including Diode, The Cortland Review, Versedaily, African American Review, Passages North, Ruminate Magazine, and The Adirondack Review. His poems have also been included in Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems and We Have Crossed Many Rivers: New Poetry from Africa. A recipient of the Hudson Prize and a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation, Abayo is the author of two poetry collections, Sailing for Ithaca and The Giving of Pears, and editor of two anthologies, Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa and Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with his wife and two children.
BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month
The theme of teaching and learning poetry, and our emphasis on student poets, speaks directly to the action of poetry in our country and global community. Never has the education of our students been so threatened, and never has truth been more challenged than in the current political climate. The truth emerges through education and the resistance and questions of our youngest generation, and it is their lead we absolutely must follow if they are to live in a society that fosters their achievements, liberation, and justice. Truth emerges through poetry as well — poetry bears witness to what truths seem impossible to speak any other way. Its constraints limit the temptation to misconstrue, obscure, and bury.