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Red In Tooth & Claw
by Chinedu Gospel

Red In Tooth & Claw
by Chinedu Gospel

Published September 16, 2022

the keyhole is eye enough to capture

              the boy wrung dry by solitude. 

              ask me why i walk into a bar with

a longing for dance. i have seen boys my age

               dancing at the stake. i have seen many 

               others too, dancing in the street of Lekki.

i have heard songs. beautiful birdsongs. fire songs.

                 bullet songs. baton songs. i have seen 

                 costumes in colourful fashions. i have seen

blue bruises, blood, bones grey as pus, yellow eyes

                  jaundiced by the fear to undo silence, pink

                  fevers on black skins — a mechanism for

survival — a camouflaging. i read the horror-scopes 

                 nestled in my palms, every night with a candle.

                 i fight death on my bed before greeting the fire 

encircled in the rising sun. my body, a mesh weaved into 

                 webs holding nightmares from plummeting.  

                & how does it help when what you keep from 

breaking breaks you all the time? last week, the doctor said 

                 my grandfather's brain had fissures, it leaks out 

                 everything that is poured into it. so, i don't question 

him anymore when he says he doesn't remember my name.

                 besides, i don't have a name. i am a metaphor

                 for many things. an indistinct pronoun. a verb

tensed into future ruin. i sat in my lover's room writing 

                 memos. writing sad poems. writing beauty in the 

                nape of her neck. i wanted to touch glory by it's hem

& feel a hot tumor dissolving in my chest. i did once in a dream. 

                & woke up a longing.  my mother says if longings were 

                a way of reaching the peak, certain men would be paradise.

but what we grope with our hands in the midst of light 

                is always invisible. O —love, 

                how did i become a magic wand?

O — how did i —

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Chinedu Gospel

Chinedu Gospel, Frontiers IV, is an emerging Nigerian poet. He stays in Anambra & is an undergradute of Nnamdi Azikwe University. He plays chess & tweets @gonspoetry. Some of his works have appeared or are forthcoming in various online and print magazines as Bath Magg, Hoax Publications, Fiyah Magazine, Foglifter Press, Agbowo arts, Habour Review, The Deadlands, Blue Marble Review, Aster Lit (winner of the StarLit Award, winter issue 2021), Temz review, Icefloe Press, Roughcut Press, Roadrunner Review, Kissing Dynamite Poetry & elsewhere.