The Honest Lie
The honest lie is the tree, green & heavy
with mangoes. Tap roots braided deep
into the earth, like genetic strands. How
my origin never lets me go far. Every pebble
is a homeland, every door in this city opens
into my mother’s bedroom, with her sad eyes
& her bible. & I can never tell which has
more stories. I may be the only thing
my mother doesn’t know. Before she goes
to sleep, she maps the space my father
left in their bed, smaller this year, but still
grotesque as a tree branch. The yellow mangoes
are ripe & stubborn, won’t fall to the ground.
Too much narcissism to leave behind
an ugly corpse. So a fruit bat mauls the pale
skin. & isn’t that how it always goes. The wicked
& their taste for me, when they cannot sleep.
I want to tell my mother how I am some boy’s
elegant midnight snack, low-calorie, leaving
his mouth wet with fructose & decadent color.
We watch the bats give birth to more bats &
he is every teeth mark that does not love me.
Mother, who do you love when you dream?
The curve of your every eyelash, clean
as a delicate ax-head, how every dying man is
cut down, then set free. & I am your son, but
my father’s also. Before morning, the wind
loots the tree, leaves it standing naked.
On the ground, mango corpses after all,
lying filthy outside this same house where
everything red stays red with no apology.
Logan February is a happy-ish Nigerian owl who likes pizza & typewriters. He Is Co-Editor-In-Chief of The Ellis Review, and a book reviewer at Platypus Press’ the Wilds. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Yemassee, Wildness, Glass, Raleigh Review, Winter Tangerine, and more. He is the author of the chapbooks, How to Cook a Ghost (Glass Poetry Press, 2017) & Painted Blue With Saltwater(Indolent Books, 2018). Say hello on Instagram & Twitter @loganfebruary.