Double Paradise (Okwudili Nebeolisa)

Though I was asleep your voice slit through me
like a scythe, I was enjoying the dream. 
I wished the water was like glass and that
I could sit on it and this desire
was almost sexual, time was almost 
as tangible as fruit under a tree, 
as if I could reach out and pluck it. 
There was a song but there was no player. 
It was so plain it must have been a flute 
and nothing more complex than a drum. 
Come, you said, walk with me on the water. 
As it usually happened in dreams, 
we didn’t even know when the water 
began to solidify, the music 
had obliviously buried the sound. 
You held my hand and we stepped carefully 
on the glass. Don’t worry, you said, as if 
you were aware that we were in my dream. 
If we fall it would be double paradise
Why was I so trusting to the point 
of vulnerability? And like a god  
that was aware that he had many lives,
I stepped on the ice and struck it with my heel
merely to test its durability
like a blacksmith hammering his work, 
fresh from the kiln, to test for weaknesses.


Okwudili Nebeolisa is a Nigerian writer whose poems have previously appeared in Threepenny Review, Strange Horizons and Fireside Magazine, and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Cincinnati Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Salamander Magazine. His nonfiction has appeared in Catapult and Commonwealth Writers. You can follow him on Twitter.