Words like ‘scar’ have been romanticized
for so long.
Feel the way the vowel stabs
the back of your mouth–
the way it creeps into the pages
of every sad poem–
a souvenir from a crumbled city.
And you, too, want a parting gift,
you, too, want the roaring of applause.
But I know you do not desire an open wound,
I know you do not want the tear of tissue,
I know you want to chant the victory anthem
before the war cry.

Oh, I know what you want to hear.
They’ll tell you, “boy, be proud of your scars”,
“boy, show them your tattoo of survival”.
A bullet missing your chest,
choosing to rest in your collar bone instead–
Boy, show them the artifacts of heartbreak,
the frozen fountain of grief–
Boy, show them,
you traumatised miracle,
you walking elegy of survival.

Another knife seeks the tight embrace
of the vein.
Feel how the blade
makes a violin of your wrist
and tonight you will bleed symphonies.
Can you already hear the chattering of ghosts?
The grave is only silent to the mortal
and you have emptied the music
from your soul.

If you have a chance to be happy,
embrace it,
allow the starlight water through your veins.
Do not fancy the grief,
do not hunger for affliction.
There is nothing beautiful about dust.
There is nothing beautiful in this choir of distress,
There is nothing beautiful in the dwindling of spirits,
in the roaring torment of agony,
in the careful slicing of wrists–
There is nothing beautiful in self harm.
Do not force art out of your body,
do not mistake your blood for paint.

This battleground has no room for beauty,
each wound is not a metaphor for acrylic.
Yes, I know we will always bleed,
I know the pain will always remind us
of our mortality,
but do not be a trigger for a scar
before its birth.
do not break into your body
and pull out the holding strings,
do not unearth the sculpted pillars
of your sacred cathedral.
For isn’t that, too, assault?

┬ęSamuel Adeyemi

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