No Escape Route

Poem By Felix Bongjoh


I carried mountains
in my ankles, but now
I walk with springs
in window-open joints.

I carried a rock
in every pace
dragging a baobab trunk,

but now birds fly my legs
along the wheels
of their rolling wings.

I float as I walk
through the jamming fangs
of a hundred

eagle beaks rolling a prey
of me into their throats,

when I tighten
my own wings
out of the rounded slippery
stone of fright,

a blizzard swooshed out
from staggered breath.


I fled from stropped
machetes of cutting winds
swooping me off
into cobweb hands
of a gale with no anchor.

But now I see
only grandpa's woven muscles
swinging breezes,
as he clears me of all weeds
and undergrowth,

my own flying hairs,
a beauty queen's elflocks
trailing me to tumble

off a cliff, as she waits for me
by a rumbling bank
of waves riding whinnying horses
to crash against
a jagged drifting bank of me,

jets of storm water
bursting out of every breath
of me as a watershed

swelled with a pouting fish
of me, when the sky fell
too low into my brows.


Thickening into the bush
hiding grass locks,
my sisters and their kids
in the wilds of Ambazonia

seeking shelter
in the expanding arms of night
wearing the skin
of floating raspberry blood,

rivers drifting up stream,

to find the quivering muzzle
that had drained body of breath,
when women and children
crept with mantis legs out of caves,

as grasshoppers from
tails of storms
chirped and whispered

through narrow paths of escape
stretching through a peel
of thunder from rumble spat out
of a shrimp's throat.

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