And God said by Ehiorobo Derek

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Narrated by Ehiorobo Derek

God said, let
there be light & plucked
a tumor out of the sky

to leave space for the sun.
I’ve always wondered
what part of me should be excised

to make room for a smile.
The only girl I’ve ever kissed
asked why I taste like

hospital wards and salt water.
I told her a story about a tumor,
floating in the ocean

after being expelled from heaven.
I told her it grew roots, became
a tree,

& God made man.
Man stole a bite from
a cursed tree, tucked a cancer

safe within his soul. & man
begat man, man begat man.
I look at my father &

notice how he struggles to meet
my eyes sometimes.
I sink into a hospital bed

& ask for my cross to pass over.
They call it a crisis. I call it
a body that only knows

how to take. I want to ask
my mother how it feels to birth
a black hole, a paradox.

I walk around the house heavy
yet empty. How much longer
until there’s nothing left

to feed this body? I was
taught to flay painkillers
on an altar before

I learned to ride a bike. I rinse
my mouth with anointing oil,
harvest bible verses

from my throat. The doctor hosts
delivery sessions — holds my
hands like a priest

& offers me a savior’s
blood. I ask him where
my genealogy empties itself

& he shows me a curved blade.
God said, let there be light, tied
a lasso around the earth

to hold its shadow in place.
& man begat man.
One day, man found

a woman sitting in the sun.
He tied promises around
her waist, tore

her shadow, right from under
her feet. Man & woman begat
boy. Boy grew into a flower

coughing up colors.
I will ask my mother how
it feels to birth a paradox,

be delivered of your own shadow.
My body’s natural enemy
is the sun. I wait

for night, bury my face in her
bosom. She splits my skull
with her lips & watches

in delight as I leak salt water.
I rest my aching head on
her laps, beg her to hold me,

& God says, let there be light

BIO: Ehiorobo Derek is a writer, poet, and spoken word artist. His work has been published in the African writers review, Praxis and the How to fall in love anthology , by Inkspired Nigeria. You can find him on instagram @derekimagines, where he writes poetry for a small community of literary enthusiasts.