A Second of Happiness

If you give me a second of happiness,
through the songs of birds or the whiff of air,
or your melody cracks through the evening dews,
perches on the petals of roses and blades of lilies,
that dream that keeps you sleepless at night
will rush in through your night window.
Now I am no longer what I used to be,
my dreams were stolen from my mid-day sleep;
and a bunch of cacti deposited at my door,
at the time, my life turned to face its past.
Shadows appeared suddenly everywhere,
and I was like a thunder-pole, a tower,
to intercept the lightning and set me on fire.
When it seemed that nothing could halt this drift,
except looking to the sky for signs of rain,
I began to crave a few seconds of happiness.

I will look to the sky, wearing my body,
as the tree wears leaves and fields grasses,
rivers wear beaches and oceans water.
When darkness paints the walls of my room,
and sunlight departs from the spires of trees;
when the moon splits in two, bloody and weeping,
it will be my finest hour in aeons of ages ago.
I will look to the sky, wearing my bare skin.
When the stars shun the centre of my eye,
waiting for me to bribe it with a smile.
Now I know why I must always face the moon
when rain clouds congregate for a feast,
and not a star, not even a fragment of the sun,
informs me that you’re the centre of the galaxy.

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About the Author

Jonathan Chibuike Ukah lives in the UK with his family. His poems have been featured in several literary magazines and anthologies. He is a winner of the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest 2022 and a finalist of the African Diaspora Award 2023.