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Above Ground Drowning

Louisiana poet Neema Murimi shares a poem based on her years in New Orleans.

Above Ground Drowning

I was falling asleep
During the sermon

Knees popped discreetly
By a thin church fan

I pull up my nagging stockings
I look up, I see flowers everywhere

The too much black
For a regular Sunday

I thought it was Easter
I thought we were potlucking

Then I see a figure Grim.

He tells me I’m sowing

None of the good things hidden from and for me.

I try to defend myself
Mouth opens to contest

But instead
Bubbles burst forth
As I inhale water

Eyes bugging.

I am housed
Below sea level

But above ground For visiting.

Now don’t you leave those
Fake ass flowers

Honor me with the real thing.

I’m partial to any variety of Magnolia.

Their leaves big enough
To cradle
The memory,
The sorrow of me.

Neema Murimi is a Kenyan-American from Louisiana who writes poetry, nonfiction, and humor pieces that converge emotion, nature, and transparency in order to navigate the world around and within her. She is currently working as a mental health therapist to high schoolers in Greenville, South Carolina. Her first name is pronounced “Nemma.”


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