Abdulrazaq Salihu

Thanatos learns to love family loosely.

after Ocean Vuong

Like every good son,
I pull my father by his left arm;[night pouring into sunrise]from his tomb—his 
Legs holding unto the sand. The songs. The gaping quiet. The silence
That keeps men company in their graves.in their sleep. In the solemn silence of Hypnos.
I bring him to the dinner table —his eyes are voiding mine—slowly 
Swallowing my conscience. today, we’re complete on the dinner table.
Nyx hides in the wind & the flame that holds the candle yearns to sleep—
It’s so every year. It is why I try to not get stuck between the
Pages of an incomplete poem.
Erebus doesn’t talk, the empty vase on the yellow table beside
Our family’s portrait sits restless. The 1435 is slowly fading off the skin of the portrait.
There’s a reason Erebus has refused to speak  since  Nyx took the
Wind into her palm; shrank herself into another man’s song—
Long sang—long dead.
We eat the remains of archaic prayers in silence and table-talk Moros &
Hynos & Momus & Keres & Geras & Petulantia &
I clear the dinner table after dinner, I sit Erebus on the couch,
His skin, green—matching the upholstery that once held us together.
Matching the covering of the night we used to plant sad songs beneath.
Like every good son, this is the way I hold unto what’s important
In the song I love most, with the people I love most. 
the empty vase on the yellow table
Has grown so much; has shattered itself in  the void before the living room,
Buried the blame in Erebus’ palm & this is  how I recollect
Pieces of the memories I once snapped.


Abdulrazaq Salihu, TPC I, is a Nigerian poet and member of the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation. He won the Splendours of Dawn Poetry Contest, BPKW Poetry Contest, Poetry Archive poetry contest, Masks Literary Magazine Poetry Award, Nigerian Prize for Teen Authors (poetry), Hilltop Creative Writing Award, and others. He has his works published/forthcoming in Bracken, Poetry Quarter(ly), Rogue, B*k, Jupiter Review, black moon magazine, Angime, Grub Street Mag, and elsewhere. He tweets @Arazaqsalihu; Instagram: Abdulrazaq_salihu. He’s the author of Constellations (poetry) and hiccups (prose).