Like the mice of my childhood, blowing to soothe heels they nibbled on
with white chainsaw teeth, this mood settles like forty storeys of smog,
floating before the building of carbon climbs my breath, the hand
at my chest clutching for purchase crushed, too, thoughts of escape squirming
in the Brownian chamber. Give me a winch poem to unspool the infinite turban
of brain fog; a turbine poem to ventilate those trees in my lung forest,
the ones with elastic bands of sap garrotting their craning necks; I want a crane poem to
deconstruct the sarcophagus-heavy helmet and corset, the luminescent poster-sun on the wall;
a wrecking-ball poem I can hide inside—a knuckle duster
that breaks the warden’s eye socket, enjambs the signet finger in a door;
a sock poem with pennies for the kidneys of this alley—I want this depression pissing blood
after hits to the side; I want renal-stone poems that never let go of corridors,
stabbing from within with boot knives; a heel poem to withstand jeers and be foul,
fight dirty against the adulation of sadness, and take a windlass to its intestines;
I am advocating violence, a hand to wrench the lead apron
from the gonads of this thing, to allow it to die like the rest of us,
but not before we all get a glimpse of sun.

Tolu Oloruntoba
Tolu Oloruntoba is a poet and doctor whose first volume of poetry, The Junta of Happenstance, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language poetry in 2021.

Join our community

Dear Readers,

For years, experts have raised the alarm about political polarization. It’s been said the left and right can’t talk to each other. Blame the political climate. Blame the rise of tech platforms and social media algorithms. But we don’t talk enough about the difference in the quality of the information that we receive and share.

As more and more media outlets die and as parts of Canada become “news deserts,” there are two types of citizens emerging: those with access to high-quality, fact-based journalism, like the kind you’ll find in The Walrus, and those without it.

One thing all reliable media outlets have in common: it takes time and adequate funding to produce good journalism.

If you like reading The Walrus, we ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter. Your donation helps us keep The Walrus’s fact-checked online journalism free to all.

Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson