the museum of americana

a literary review

June 19 in History — Poetry by Ayokunle Falomo

I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, 
an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.
DONALD J. TRUMP

Today, in Galveston, a woman I love is in a classroom with a group of kids and together, they write poems in the manner of recipes. Here, an hour and thirty minutes’ drive from her, I am reading the words of the first Native American to assume the position of the country’s Poet Laureate. In the last line of the poem I am reading, we end (by which I also mean begin) with the world ending, perhaps, at a kitchen table.

Today, some men run, pigskin in hand, through a field the way a tractor does through acres of wheat and rice.

Today, the prisons are not empty; the cubicles of our work places are not.

Today, a rebellion begins.

Today, a battleship is launched; a war is lost & a war is lost.

Today, a riot; a mosque is bombed.

Today, the warlord of a dynasty dies.

Today, a shogun is born.

Today, a poet, a poem.

Today, a bridge collapses and a train slithers into the mouth of a river.

Today, time is collapsed.

Today, all my mother’s children are here with her. She wraps her arms around us like a promise kept. I know not what tomorrow has in the pantry, but today, we do not die of hunger.

Today, the village on my tongue dances to the music of the oil in the pan as my brother puts into it what has been cut & crushed to satisfy the god of hunger.

Today, I remember to give thanks—for the sound of running water, that the red that ends up down the sink’s drain is only tomato paste.

 

~~~

Ayokunle FalomoAyokunle Falomo is Nigerian, American, and the author of AFRICANAMERICAN’T (FlowerSong Press, 2022), two self-published collections and African, American which was selected by Selah Saterstrom as the winner of New Delta Review’s annual chapbook contest in 2019. A recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and MacDowell, his work has been anthologized and published in print and online, including The New York Times, Houston Public Media, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Texas Review, New England Review, Write About Now among others. He is currently a Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where he obtained his MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry.

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