At the Confessional

Charles Nnanna

After Anthony Okpunor’s “Confession”

By Charles Nnanna

there’s a hole in this poem. a buried hole.
each line is a seed in the quiet; cracking, desperate

for daybreak:
see a soul longing for a body, see
a tongue toiling to find its dialect.

yesterday I told some strangers to quit visiting the mirror anytime
I tried to sketch myself. I recall that when time was still very
young for me, every breeze
that handled my skin came from
the rainbow; I was many colours at once,


I was beautiful.

but / but life has a way of luring emptiness as
it pilgrims through time:

see a boy living that dreamy zenith littered with
accolades, see him bearing a biography beginning with late //

survived by… survived by a sorrowing number of Nouns &
Pronouns verb-ing towards the same adjective.

forgive me, sir, I do not mean to be fatalistic here / I swear,
this poem is wheeling itself.

all I want is to hold essence in my palm; to cuddle
purpose beyond tightly.

all I want is to go back to the time before emptiness
was beyond a vocabulary.

Charles Nnanna writes from Ilorin, Nigeria. He was a top entrant for the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP), & two-time winner in Shuzia Poetry Competitions, 2021. He has contributions forthcoming/in Brittle Paper, Feral, The Shallow Tales Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Kalahari, & elsewhere.

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