Soonest Nathaniel is a poet and spoken word artist. He is the author of Teaching My Father How To Impregnate Women, selected as winner of the 2017 RL Poetry Award. He was poet Laureate for 2014 Korea Nigeria Poetry Festival. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Rattle, The Pedestal Magazine, Praxis Mag, Raven Chronicles, Wiki Column, Saraba, Loudthotz, Northridge Review, Reverbnation, Elsewhere, Scintilla, Erbacce UK, Kalahari Review, Sentinel Nigeria, and many more.
I Smell Death
I smell death. I tread on blood.
I am last on the procession line; the last line of code.
The light has come and gone, and the programmer will never return.
Some dreams die before they are born. Arrows in flight may never return.
So I ask: ‘Who writes the algorithms of our fate?
Who plots the graph of our existence?
How can we measure our lives in binary?’
They aimed for his head,
lodged lead in the nursery of his brain,
and they found out he did not bleed in pseudo-codes.
His mnemonics had their binding time.
They have come again. They always come.
Assemblers, compilers, seeking to decode the language of memory,
daring to dissect destiny. They ask: “when is the end of eternity?”
And some long for a look into the infant’s eyes,
longing to read the past of tomorrow;
yearning to know the future of yesterday.
When flowers grow teeth,
Lord, let my flesh not pass for meat!
Who will write the Messiah’s iteration?
Who will program the day unknown,
now that the light has come and gone
and the programmer will never return again?