Appendages of Loss

Njoku Nonso

By Njoku Nonso

I do not trust my hands to keep me alive.
I chapel my hands towards atonement,
a white stallion limping across the garden
of beauty. What’s hungered in the dark
remains imperishable, ungodly, persuasive
like a naked wire drawn out of an open eye,
sailor’s hands over a hairball of insomniac vines
swinging outside the window like a star sign.
Ariana Grande’s androglossia on repeat—
a heaven’s myth: music is a cruel predator
cathartic, the terpsichore of water. The soul—
a memory door unlatching slowly like
a bloodying welt. I leak everywhere. How
does a bird sing of this song? In this dream
a giant hole appears on the centre of my palms
and the many dead that bristle against my hair
when I am asleep, gallop out, shameless,
countless, their teeth a haunting story where
a widow cuts off her head to calm the birds
hovering over her son’s grave, where a beautiful
city keeps crumbling down the ocean’s long
sleeve. I have seen it all. I feel so different
I can build a church of fire out of my bare hands
as a requiem for escape. Nothing is greener
than my own suffering. I am the shattering glass,
the sound of water rising to meet the sky.



Njoku Nonso is a Nigerian Igbo-born poet, essayist, writer of fiction, and medical student, who lives and writes in/from Ojoto as a tribute to the spirit of Christopher Okigbo. His works has been featured or is forthcoming in Rising Phoneix Review (Pushcart-nominated), Bodega Magazine, The Shore, Animal Heart Press, Palette Poetry, Brittle Paper, Kissing Dynamite, Praxis and elsewhere. He’s currently working on his first poetry chapbook, and still loving stray dogs. Hook up on twitter @NN_Emmanuels.

Twitter: @NN_Emmanuels   |   Instagram: @Iamnjokunonso


  1. This is an amazing poem; I don’t know if I have felt the feeling before, this feeling after reading a poem that I have to think it over and reminisce on my life, double-check, slap-bookheads, to verify if I had loss, or losses. But no! To those who has lost, this poem brings me in synonymity with you.

    PS: “A widow cuts off her head to calm the birds
    hovering over her son’s grave”

    My favorite line

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