‘The Song of an Optimist’ by EL Kamaal

I worship Blackness.

The light of the day is of less meaning           without the essence of night.
Darkness is to light                               what the night is to the placid moon.

I went out in search of my sun.     Caught one off guard with my eyes as bare as the day:

Glared. Of course, I winked,

                                                     No discomfort registered

                                                                 As I blurted:
This is not the sun I was looking for

As if the sun is a history of different versions.

I saw another behind the Milky Way of my past,
Touched it with the bare arm of my heart:

                           Though some warmth was felt, but not warm enough.

And the tenderness was as young       as the morning dews.

                                                                  Yet I said:
This is not the sun I was looking for.

As if the sun is a book with different titles.

            My sun is not just tender     nor just emotional     nor just warm
            Like my lover’s nightly touch. It is something like everything else unnamed.

Everything is me and my lover’s touch.
Everything is the cup of coffee on the bedside, sugared with a kiss.
A cuddle and glaring into each other’s eyes like space and time.

My sun comes home tomorrow
At the abominable time when all sciences, logics, and religions have gone
To the serene country of their eyes.

My sun will emerge like this lonely night
When solitude has taken her precious side
Beside me. When the moon is nothing     but just a name
Protecting the dignity of the stars         breathing calmly like a whole continent
On the vast shoulder of the firmament.

My sun will come.   This sun will come.
                                    As if I have never searched for happiness
In a cup of coffee
Sitting beside solitude in the births of the new cold mornings.
                                                      My sun will come gently

As if I have never worshipped
                                                          The Blackness of my skin.

EL Kamaal is a Nigerian poet and writer. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Global Poemic, Lumiere Review, Window Facing Window Review, Cathartic, Boleman Bridge Review, Cultural Weekly, and elsewhere. He was shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship Academic Writing Prize 2020.

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