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“Doing the Work,” “Nice While it Lasted,” “The Best Time to Plant a Tree was Twenty Years Ago,” “Sonnet”


Doing the Work 



I open shop and the day’s first light is still dawdling.
Without ceremony, I keep the machines warm, turning slick with oil.

I clock-in this overtime.


There goes the indifferent hour hand. Meanwhile I’m bearing the names I know
on one shoulder, counter-balanced by the forgotten.

He had wanted to live. And him, and her, and him—and her—


Suddenly these celestial points are pulled back to reveal the system behind. In the ghost
of the sky, in the night complicit in murder, I don’t know

how to map an exit.


Months after the bullets turn cold, I grind my teeth in compulsion.
Worry becomes mechanical,

Sustaining its own momentum.


Worry me to sleep. When I retire, I will have earned my grief the hard way.
I will have spent all the currency I own.
Let it be known: we paid the toll, and nobody was freed.


Nice While It Lasted


On the final scenes of Bojack Horseman

On a roof
the horse’s heart
Having worn out its own
History. The silence of it
Balloons, hurricanes
The room, so I’m left
Facing the splinters;
Jagged corners

What’s more
Than we are forgiven
And largely we carry
On in that
Former gait—pleading
And receiving—

The self, subsumed
By memory
Tortured then soothed


The Best Time to Plant A Tree Was Twenty Years Ago


Everyone is blue but busy inventing
new ways to wear the word toxic, and my friends and I have dug up the stump
of that old baobab to make of it a few hip bar stools
for the culture; we’ve long now left behind the niceties—
little fears of tripping over the other, it’s all clumsy sarcasm
from here. Maybe we’re pleading for a chance to be heard maybe for the last
time before something foul rides into town, in with the bad weather, hangs
unbidden; see how quickly.

We the numberless green, loose
leaves, are all vastly open, all sad and sundry. I’m part time all of my friends,
part time recording the time of our lives, pocketing grainy photographs. I’m
jotting down the things you are saying to me: the next best thing We’ve got
is now. It will have to matter on a red planet, what with the sun
hard-pressed against us. Great fires licking up our cities, old wars turning in
the valley.




Thank you for the
mammoth black gates
around the island
of concrete. For Saturday
mornings in the garage with math,
thanks. Living room camping site,
the fire we carried from
tongue to tongue to pass the time,
thanks. Thank you, the Peugeot, more
so the clear windshield & its one dead
bug, the drowsy shapes of rain. I am
dry & lonely. Thank you both the
ocean and moon, tall tide. I miss you
all through this
Gorilla glass.

Ifoghale Eguwe is a writer and digital designer living in Nigeria. He is a Pushcart nominee whose work has appeared in "Channel Magazine," Yemassee Journal," and "Whale Road Review. "

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