by Mgbabor Emmanuel Chukwudalu
because bathing in the moon’s fluorescence
is a kind of ritual — saltwater cascading my torso.
forgive me, baptism is the washing away of old
shadows: a cleansing of the body into a holy sacrament—
a new paradox. this is how i build language
on my brittle tongue like sandcastles. i confess:
i want to embrace this newness, to touch
the fragments of my body & not strangle
the rivulets of light flooding my veins. but these
too many lights, sunburns blurring my existence.
my tongue silvering. the closest i’ve come to dying
is to think the hunger in my eyes as vanishing
window birds. but what is this reflection spilled
on the bathroom wall? your fingers comb through
my hair— my hair, a burning bush. again, i fear
someday, the sun would leap out of the sky like
a tossed gold coin, crashing on my father’s roof. i found
my feet on the riverbank where the wind shatters its fist
on my face. i want to toss my body, empty & fertile,
into the mouth of a transparent moon. my eyes,
lusty fingering inspecting the horizon. waiting. maybe
the river would voyage my father’s ghost back to me.
Mgbabor Emmanuel Chukwudalu, Frontier XIII, is a Nigerian poet and storyteller. He came 1st Runner-up in the POETICALLY-WRITTEN PROSE (2021) organized by PIN Initiative, and as well a winner of the MY SHUZIA POETRY COMPETITION (2021). His works have been published and forthcoming in various magazines, including: The Shallow Tales Review, My Shuzia Magazine, IceFloe press, Walled City Journal, Evokelit, amongst others. He tweets @literati22.