A Poem by Trust Tonji

​beginning from the end

some begin living
when air quits passing
through their nostrils

when they have a room
under the earth
in a bottle
in a carefully carved coffin
when they are ashes dancing
with the waves that hop
the roses thrown at them

so we swallow the truth
and let it dissolve like ice cream
into our souls: ‘some feet will
pass through the door
and never return through it’

we might have to see them
through mementos, pictures, clothing,
a door, our breath,
through every meal that tastes
like them & disappear into
an abyss down the throat
through memories that wake up
the noisy shadows of déjà vu
through every pulse in us that


replicates dances we once shared
reminding us of
how we will one day walk
 without our heads
 without our lungs
& not even a gun will make us run

so this is the genesis of shit:

how we lost our loved ones
& loved our lost ones
how we are incenses
burning in the lungs of time


Trust Tonji writes from Porto Novo, Benin Republic.