We Risk It All

Chiwenite Onyekwelu

By Chiwenite Onyekwelu

Because deep down all we
want is to be split apart. Or do you
not see it clearly enough—
this mole on your flesh,

tender as light & sinking
through. It was never always so.
The bodies in motion
were once at peace. Your

voice was your voice
& this thirst, only thirst. Even what
now rises to pierce you
in half was never so.

But this is the moment we
risk it all. I am in danger of getting
drowned. I emerge, head-first
& you open. You swallow

the whole of me to keep me
from harm. Once again I am caught
mid-air. Once again,
my love— you offer me

a soft landing. Have you ever
thought about this: all that violence,
why do we keep asking
for a taste of more?

Call it the Mystery of
Gratification. And here is where we
ignite. What we pick from
the trash is always ours—

the clothes, some splintered
limb, a torso, or even a conversation.
It is the soot after brushfire.
The evidence that

something more ferocious
than forest wind has been found
& let loose.


Chiwenite Onyekwelu is a poet. His works have appeared on Rough Cut Press, America Magazine, Isele, Cultural Weekly and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2021 New York Encounter Poetry Contest and winner of the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize,. Find him on Instagram: (@chiwenite_onyekwelu) and Twitter: (@chiwenite9).


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