Issue 2.28

Our God Does Not Eat Any Man’s Meat

there is a reason
if entering the earth
you were birthed a span of cloud
no claws in your fingers and
like some grease on the sea
water erodes your sweats before daylight
please, know that
it is better to rise from and vanish on the rock
you’ll not have a tomb
my son, as your body, as a sun, will bury itself
inside the small deep darkened drainage of nature’s bird
should the moons come with ears and eyes
they too would eye and hear what wonders you dared
and if you’re birthed in the shape of a man
don’t snub the sands beneath your feet
a scripture you’re
sculpted with their scepter
for the rainbow’s beauty faded
the day it snubbed the colours beneath its feet.

Writing evolves from thought, and so, a thinker was born in that land of virtue, Osun state, Nigeria. Ridwanullah Solahudeen Sapient is a lover of God and His creatures, including nature. Thusly, this preoccupated most, if not all of his works. He is a level1 Law student of Bayero University, Kano, Kano state. He was the winner of MSSN 2019 Best Essayist Award. He won Barr Mahmud Kola Adesina SAN AMIS Osun state Best Essayist Award in 2020. His work, Tornado Years and Without Despair, earned him first place in the Stars prize 2020. He was 2nd Essayist of the Year 2019 at Brain Builders International. His works are up on Spillwordsmag, Almirath Magazine, the shallowtales review, inter alia. 

The Impulse To Fly

On the trail by the waterfall, I meet two people even older than me. They’re hiking with canes instead of staffs. The man is ninety, the woman eight-nine. I can hear them appraise me, although their lips don’t move. A little too young to be hiking alone, but probably divorced, unsociable, or just plain loner. The latter, I note. We discuss the state of things: the rich people in the village and their unholy greed; the small-time politicians fluffed with arrogance; the children who clump in parking lots to sneer. The schools remain closed because of pandemic and post-election anguish. Parents who work long hours can’t home-school, and the kids won’t hang around for classes on Zoom. We agree that the planet is clenching a fist. We agree that the waterfall in its lucid purity rebukes humanity. With a wave and farewell they set forth, caning their way back toward the car park, a couple of miles through the flimsy autumn forest. I follow at a safe distance. After half a mile, the woman sprouts wings and flits up through the trees and into the solid blue. After another quarter mile, the man does the same. I clutch their abandoned canes like a bundle of fasces. Maybe I’ll reach my parked car before the impulse to fly overtakes me. Maybe not.

The Paddock

At the paddock where the mountain view dominates, I pause to snap a photo. You’re trying to hurry me along. Snow has already started falling, and we’re on foot two miles from home. Look above the mountains the clouds resemble the breath of massive creatures plowing through the sky. You don’t see that? Then look at the groomed surface of the paddock. No hooves have disturbed this manicured ground since the leaves fell and the caretaker raked them away. Look at how dark this fine gravel is. Aren’t you afraid of falling through it, down to the bedrock plotting below? You say you’ve never much liked horses. You claim to prefer animals small enough to cuddle in your lap. Maybe that’s why you’ve gotten bored with me and want to hurry home. Go ahead. If I weren’t afraid of the caretaker, whose moustache bristles like a pine, I’d erect my orange nylon tent in the middle of the paddock and spend a night absorbing the massive distance. The next day I’d return to you in a righteous state, and you’d have to accept whatever I told you about the stars, the mountains, the bedrock pulsing with lust. You’d have to believe me because when the ghost horses came after midnight and trampled me I somehow survived.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

The Sweet Cupboard

Think of a doll’s house.
Hardboard walls quartering it.
Little doors between each quarter.

Hinged wooden people
propped in armchairs
or straightened out on beds.

Things they might yell through the walls
about supper, schoolwork, mucky boots,
hogging the bathroom they’re not allowed to lock.

Out-of-scale furniture fills the space.
See the beds, how they’re crammed in,
how narrow, how hard it must be to breathe.

This kitchen table that does for
mending bikes on, putting a vase on,
the man to read his newspaper on.

Four small rooms – four boxes up-on-end,
no more than an eighth of an inch between each.
Open the little hinged cupboard; find, in among,
the empty sweet tin, and pretend.

travelodge, 25th december

long, narrow single bed
a black rectangle, sideways.
big bland rectangular wall.
empty wardrobe a vertical rectangle.

rectangular window onto a
car-park marked out in rectangles
and a rectangular shed. the moon
a hard white nail-clipping.

gloom. table rectangular, mirror a rectangle
reflecting rectangular shed and hard white moon.
door beside black-sideways-rectangle of
single bed also a rectangle.

on the rectangular bedside table, the remote –
a particularly narrow rectangle.
the ‘on’ button rectangular.
thumb an oblong.

Sue Vickerman’s latest publication is her translation from German of TWENTY POEMS BY KATHRIN SCHMIDT (Arc Publications 2020). Sue’s poems, translations, short stories and articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Times Educational Supplement, The Poetry Review, Stockholm Review, Stand, Rialto, The Los Angeles Review, Trafika Europe, Lunch Ticket etc. She has five poetry and four prose publications in print and edits for Naked Eye Publishing (UK). Find more at