A Wreckful Planting of Small Pockets of Thirst

By Nnadi Samuel in Issue Four, May 2022

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

Nnadi Samuel

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English and Literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published or is forthcoming in FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Star*Line Fiction & Poetry, Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine and elsewhere. He is also the winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021 (University of Louisville), Penrose Poetry Prize 2021, Lakefly Poetry Contest 2021 (Wisconsin), International Human Right Arts Festival Award 2021, and Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020, and he received an honorable mention for the 2021 Betty L. Yu and Jin C. Yu Creative Writing Prize (College Category). He reads for U-Right Magazine and tweets @Samuelsamba10.

Poetry by Nnadi Samuel
  • A Wreckful Planting of Small Pockets of Thirst