» Poetry

For the City of Lincoln

I turn onto O Street

From 14th in the middle of the night

I see a streetlight bending beyond the shadow

Of its pole to kiss the asphalt

In the stomach.

 

This thing is going to happen again.

 

My muscles squeeze to a stop

My teeth rattle hallelujah in front of the African store

My heart halts at the red light

Pulling the season with him to a freeze:

 

This thing is happening again.

I reach for Vine all covered with fallen leaves now

Brown brown and dry dry

This lively fountain behind me shall die, soon

And that glee stream too,

Taking with him his running joy into the grave of ice

 

But I shall be here, still

Coiled in the folds of her sanctuary

Whiffing this rusting heart

Waiting

Warming

Counting

 

And kissing the sunshine in the cold of this Winter.

Patron Henekou

Patron Henekou is from Togo, though he currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. He writes in French and English. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AFROpoésie, Revue des Citoyens des Lettres, The Best New African Poets Anthology 2017, and The Kalahari Review. Patron’s published works include a play in English, Dovlo, or A Worthless Sweat (2015) and a poetry chapbook in French entitled Souffles d’outre-cœur (2017). He is the recipient of the 2018 Palm Beach Poetry Festival African American Fellowship.