Illustration: photo of brain coral digitally manipulated to resemble close-up on molten lava

Paradigm of prayers

A soul seeks a coal pot of smoldering ember

to swelter his freezing bone, in the same space,

another soul seeks the shadow of Antarctica to

sift the bonfire enraging his body. Both sides

preying on each other as they pray. See, God

answers the prayer of a man, & the unlit body

of another man is brightened with an incandescent

glow & in another story, God waters two floral

gardens with rain, & one man blooms & the other wilts

Into a thick bush. The messenger birds carrying

these prayers to God are clashing, perhaps like

metals. I do not say another man must be reduced to

nothing each time we stretch our hands to God

so he can plant a flower on them. What I mean is—

I do not want to be the tree ripped off earth while

the wind blows the dust off the dirty surface.

Abdulkareem Abdulkareem (Pānini) (he/him), Frontier III, is a Nigerian writer, he studies Linguistics at the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. His poem was shortlisted for the top 20 poems of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) 2021 & the top entries of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (August/September) 2021. His works appear/forthcoming on Poetrycolumn NND, Shallow Tales Review, Brittle Paper, Ice Floe, Rigorous, Second Chance lit, Olney magazine, Window Facing Window Review, Celestite Poetry, Sledgehammer lit, Salamander ink, Afro literary magazine, Lunaris Review, Kissing Dynamite & elsewhere. He is a member of The Frontiers Collective. He tweets @panini500bc. Instagram panini_500bc

Illustration by C.B. Auder.

NEXT – Sufficiently north

PREVIOUS – Still Life

RETURN to Issue Eleven