“How to End a Year” by Samuel A. Betiku

Samuel A. Betiku


Your silhouette arched on the railing
of the balcony takes stock of space and time,
the world so far-flung and your eyes so far-
reaching you mistake yourself for God,
though your hands are full of holes, fault
lines riddling the tract of a life you would
gladly exchange for another. But now is not
the time for penance but for the savor of grace
in the air. The city alive at your feet, pulsing
blend of sound and light, a wild stallion
broken for you. How in the house the boombox
breathes in tandem with the tangos of those
you love, who beam like characters at the end
of a fairy tale. Isn’t this lilting world shaped
as an open door? You can walk through it
and never come back. Overhead, the dusky sky
bursts into a fit of colors, fire flowers blooming
from an orchard of mirth, and a time flows
into another like a dazzling river beckoning you
to drink.

from Poets Respond
December 31, 2022


Samuel A. Betiku: “During a class, a lecturer I greatly admire said: ‘It’s a dangerous thing to live in the past; don’t allow yourself to be left behind.’ This poem was the aftermath of the impression those words had on me.”

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