Somewhere Else

Prose Poem by Oyinda Yemi-Omowumi, republished from the upcoming issue of ‘Lacuna’

I was there and then I wasn’t, and then I was. All of a sudden, there. My eyes open twenty times a day, each a different registering of my existence; I am alive and I am here, living in this big, broken world.

In the mornings the sun lights me on fire. I crawl back under the covers and wait out the burning; crying as I feel the heat creep through the duvet. I play kiss-chase with the sun and it smothers me. I close my eyes and feel the heat hover across my face, fingers pressed against my eyelids demanding to be known. Cannot run from the light, but I try and blink it away. Soon time will reset under all the darkness, and I’ll be waiting for the scabs.

I was there and then I wasn’t.

And now, summer is bleeding into autumn..

I’m struggling to sweep up the leaves inside my head; they’re all falling down by the minute, no matter how many piles I make, how many times I dance with the rake. Still, leaves fall and leaves scatter. It’s hard work doing all the other stuff, living and perform- ing, when I’m sweeping and sweeping and trying to keep on top of all of the thoughts.

It’s Friday.

There’s a bird chirping away on the balcony. Too cold to say hello, so I tap my window gently and whisper good morning good morning will you say it back i’m lonely this morning and my head is full of worms. You can carry them away but you have to listen. Will you listen? That question does a hundred somersaults in my head and the bird flies away. I started the day with lonely’s hands over my mouth and my eyes. The bird pecks away at me and I dream I fall off the balcony.

On Saturday, I grew a third eye. It must have bloomed overnight, because when I woke, I felt it and when I looked in the mirror I saw it. A third sister to the other failing two, except this third eye had perfect vision. I watched minds spill and open out in front of me, I watched words circle their brains; the sentences that made it from start to finish, the sentences that fell apart, the broken-from-the-beginning sentences, fragments of leftover memories, fresh memories with beating hearts, there was a kiss, rage clouded one lady’s head red, and it hurt – I felt it, remembered it, embodied it. The third eye was a blessing until it wasn’t. My mind turned her sour and everything was tainted red, soon everyone was out to get me, out to bite me… taped it shut    

I was there and then I wasn’t.

Slept on smoke clouds till they could no longer hold my body. I was heavy with a head- ful bellyful of sorrow and regret. Thought I was stranded amidst all the grey smoke fog but outside looked delicious and I was hesitant and terrified. Yet, somehow, despite all the fear I went yelling with the wind.

Next day Tuesday I grew wings. Woke up with an ache in the middle of my back, and it wasn’t till I stood in the mirror that I saw. Big blue, iridescent wings. I woke up made up of the same stuff of butterflies, of fairies. I grew wings and forgot that the line be- tween reality and not-reality is oh-so very thin and my reflection had crossed the line. I remembered the dream where I fell of the balcony, and I wondered if I was destined for the same end as Icarus.

I was there and then I wasn’t

Thursday, a room full of fog, and a horrible feeling in my chest gnawing at the day. It hurts to do anything, so I stay there and let it crawl inside my skin … I am full of all sorts of terrible things and terrible feelings, and Thursday is a bad day, a day where I hover above my body, close enough to know she is there, far enough to know that I am not.

Saturday I rise again. This time in someone else’s bed, wrapped in white sheets nursing something still broken inside. Thought her hands would fix things, thought her lips would patch things up but I’m still bleeding still weeping. I kiss her hands.

Hands are funny things, mine are brown and bruised, her’s are soft and wanting. Hands are shaky things, our legs are wobbly things, and my heart remains a broken thing

Leaking. I swallow a pill and bite Time’s ears off.

I was there and then I wasn’t.

Time bites me back with a vengeance, the pain knocks me out and the days run blurry. I am spilling into the ground, spilling out of my body, into the sheets, into the air. I have visions of Icarus falling, fragile body, burnt flesh burnt wings. We’re still human in the end, still small, still weak; our bodies weren’t built to be Gods. The vision stops and I’m always back before his bones break.

Time is cruel and I have dreams I have been pulled back into the belly of a whale. Every- thing is pink and warm, I cannot breathe.

Inside the belly of the whale. 

Inside my mother’s stomach. I was there and then I wasn’t.

For more from Lacuna, visit their website at https://www.lacunalit.com

Cover art by Bunmi Agusto | Piece titled ‘Multiple Consciousness’

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