Felix Bongjoh

Shisong-Bui, Cameroon
Felix Bongjoh
Shisong-Bui, Cameroon
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Swimming Out


How do we swim
out of a drizzling
canyon bank
glazed with wet glue,

its hands no sticking crabs,
but the dodgy rub
of spiraling breeze palms
with no gripping fingers?

How do we swim out
of a smooth back,
earth slithering with fish skin
pulling away
like a fleeing snake?


Not always water
with a push
and pull, as legs scissor
through. Cutting across
a bluish drifting fabric
of rolling watery sheets.

It's no flowing water,
a nylon stretch
of streamy splashy river
flattening out creases.

Our hands row
and paddle a running crawl.
It's only slippery earth,
pushing back our palms,
as we swim
on the slobber of our fear.


We swim too,
as we climb slippery
canyon walls
up to a clayey bank

that won't hold down
palms and fingers
to catch them
into stapling clipping holes.

Our palms are clams
sticking to the slippery skin
of clay-coated earth
wetted by mouth-sprayed
drizzles and trickles.

Our palms slide
and glide with baby drool,
as we swim
on earth's hard, clayey nylon

slipping off
like unstitched banana leaves.

On hard earth
at a canyon's drifting bank,
our hands are hag fish
fleeing from our fingers
and wrists
in a canyon's deep throat.


Our hands swim
on slimy snail trails
with thinning soap suds,

as bearded spume
from foamy times
spit out sticky light rains
of fear gripping
our ankles and toes,

a grunting hippo
our soap-rubbed soles
and breaking ankles

for a glowing foot shake
hotter than
a mid-morning's handshake

with a thousand nails,
when school children split
for a fast juicy bite.

And we swallow our fear
like honey
tapped from honeycombs.

with baby bees spilling out
milky fluid,

our sugar a melted fear,
as the hippo
is stuck in a hooking rock
deep down the river
between two canyon banks.

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4/16/2021 6:58:40 AM #