First published in Uncanny Magazine, March 2022
I run out of ways to keep you urgent in my mouth,
stomach your shouting relic.
so, when grief comes for an unburial, unearthing you into the forgotten,
I stuff you under my tongue.
how I've learnt to carry you across borders,
across turnpikes & racial diss.
across the panting roadblocks,
where we exist loudly as exclamations below a cop's knee,
or viscous ransack that gets close but doesn't claim my throat.
the near miss—a hurt we alone can voice.
I scale you across walls, unpronounced.
pawn all my sound rates at eager cost, to house your absence.
the mold of your breath: a memory of all the things we run out of.
till I approach the wild reserve of oxygen & grim soil yawning to mouth you
whose hunger surrounds a place, kills its aura
knowing an opening isn't reception.
you go by the names of every fattened contraband,
nurtured by my silence,
plump with a knowing of all I've held back.
I genuflect, teeth heavy into dust
to sow your person in a sullied language.
I drown your absence deep in the carnivorous mud:
a wreckful planting of small pockets of thirst.
the sky—grief hefty.
wrathful cherubs, laced in giant heaps of puffed cloud.
each turn, a weeping threat.
I howl into wetness till the ground goes soft,
loamy with my passing breath & the trail of your absence I indent with shrubs.
each thicket, a bleed and scything remark scribbled in furious red
across the tiny mouths of the world
as I hold you urgent, behind clenched lips.
a sharp susurration tilling its underbrush.
how likely we assume dust,
by which I mean slit our tongue into sones & decibels.
a throbbing loudness seething from within:
an hour of sobbing gold.
© 2022 Nnadi Samuel