Alternate Beginning, Alternate Ending, by Animashaun Ameen

Sometimes a painting reminds you of a story,
other times, it becomes a map leading you

back to all the places you grew up running away from.
Like madness, God is a word you can taste on your tongue.

It is a word you can hold in your hands and mold
into models of people you love—

or sometimes, places you used to love and call home.
God is your dead friend haunting your dreams

and trapping you in your own body. God is the emptiness
inside your chest, the bullet ripping through your skin,

the large body of water waiting for you
to come home. God is all the boys you’ve been with,

the ashes of your father, the menarche of your sister,
the story burning your insides, fighting desperately to be told.

God is you wandering the pages of lost memory.
God is your body sliced into small offerings,

the rose eating out the warmth in your eyes,
the heaviness of your tongue—the pages torn from the book of Genesis.

Here, you say Let there be God and like magic,
there was God.

Animashaun Ameen is a poet and essayist. His works have appeared/are forthcoming in Salamander Mag, Foglifter, The Munster Literature Centre, Native Skin, Third Estate Mag, Roadrunner Review, The Drinking Gourd, and elsewhere, and he is the author of Calling a Spade (forthcoming). He lives and writes from Lagos, Nigeria. An oddball. A butterfly. He tweets @AmeenAnimashaun.

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