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Little Black Bodies

by Chisom Okafor
19 March 2020

At nightfall, I mould scraps of experiments

into paper mash puddings

and swallow two balls for dinner.

Two is a complete number;

two for two balls, two for two hands pinned.

Two for two feet held.

Two for two hands holding.

Two for two folds of flesh unfurling,

lips fused in a cavity, unable to keep from

descending into a brushstroke kiss.

A line starts in a point and ends in another,

same as two shades of dreams

on a night without electricity in the house.

My mother calls them nightmares

that must be cast to the past, like a disjointed marriage.

I tell I her I still see nightmares;

like her third husband; a line that begins

and ends in vows.

Be nice and I’ll make you fisher of men.

Each day of silence fetches you a fortune.

He drilled into me with a headlamp on Day 1,

dug for speculated platinum on Day 2, lingering

at tangents between

intersections of rectal walls,

ate two steaks of grilled pork

with his own wetness on Day 3.

Her second husband, skin, the colour of Tom Brown solution,

went extra deep, hymned Amazing Grace all the way,

with semen finding my tongue as a way of escape.

I’m sure he meant to say:

 I’m not killing you, boy.

Just making you feel alterations ─

the pathways we discover in little black bodies.




Image adapted from photograph by Stephen Olatunde.

About the Author

Chisom Okafor

Chisom Okafor is a Nigerian poet, who has worked as a nutritionist, dietitian, bartender, accountant and night auditor. He was shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Award for Poetry in 2018 and the Gerald Kraak Prize in 2019. His work appears in the Indian Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, SAND Journal, 2019 Gerald Kraak Anthology, The Rising […]