Bamboo by Oshiomah Oyageshio

Oshiomah Oyageshio

This bench I sit on was once a tree.

Maybe it was a forest

Can it feel nostalgia?

Does it remember how it feels

to be wild?

To be nourished by loam

while earthworms wriggle

around its roots? For its leaves


to relish the sun for breakfast?

I am surrounded by tall green skinny bamboos

as I watch fat koi with the tinct

of flaming persimmons swim aimlessly.


As I bask in the glory of this humid paradise,

I can only wonder if I deserve this blessing;

To be the only one in this cage of glass

sequestering me from the horror of winter.


To be surrounded by this tropical flora

of  breadfruit and starfruit,

cocoa and rubber,

shell ginger and banana.


Is this lush bliss aware

that I sit on their dead brother?

That was uprooted and hacked, carved,

shaped, sharpened and shaved


to make a bench I sit on?

They must be angry.
Their leaves are screaming. Their
roots are squirming.

Do they know

they are manipulated to grow

In a land not their own?
I can feel the koi


staring, they sense

the invisible tension.

The humidity here

is entrancing. Closing my


eyes I

lay my drowsy head

between two bamboos

and close my eyes.


In my reverie they wrap

around me,

and I too become a

bamboo; limbs


fusing to thorax, thorax

to a piston, heartbeat

and blood replaced

with water, lignin,


and sugar. From root to

Shoot my skin

mutates from black

to green, leaves begin to sprout.


These bamboos are malicious;

These vines are vicious.


The koi boom

from the pond.

I snap

from the trance and


I am now a human

cross in a sea

of bamboos with vines, tugging

my arms and

feet. Sacrifice


or savior? The room is

smaller, the trees

are closer. This humid

haze has made me


weary of reality. The Banana

look sinister, the cocoa tree

grins. Everything alive



They advance.










to the bench.










from the bamboos


to be skinned alive


and hacked,


carved, shaped,

sharpened and shaved

then fused to a bench


of bones. The bamboos




on me




if my ribs






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