Deal gently
With those
Sore of Soul

For whom
Each invitation

Or word spoken
Is wound to sea-salt

Or boil
Cut open.

Forgive
Their furrowed brows
And punch of air

Their voice
A treble loud

And their swell
Of chest

Whose welts—

Thick and reddened
For years—

Must be softly licked
And pressed

Till they thaw
Give off pus
And slowly clear

And the sea-horses
Long buried within

Overtime
Begin to reveal
Themselves.

About Abayomi Animashaun

About Abayomi

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.

http://www.abayomianimashaun.com

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