2 POEMS By Chibueze Obunadike

Into Each New Dawn

in another century:

/

when we were still trapped in

the tiny husks of what we would

become / the world only as big

as imagination / still a map in

our fists / still a swinging door /

& had not yet begun to open /

like a cracked shell / we were

just boys / chasing adventures

through each sunrise / undressing

the days with feverish hands /

eager to press our tongues to

the sweetness of it / give names

to each new taste / ixora / uziza

camwood / okra / icheku

/

when we abandoned the comfort

of sleep / to chase the moon half

round the sky / meet the sun

halfway / reclaim all our misplaced

dusks / all our dreams that had

died in them / we dove into each

new dawn / reckless & dreaming /

screamed ourselves breathless /

came up weeping with a forgotten

joy / our lives infinite / our dreams

infinite / all our nights, infinite.

Butterflies

you’re a boy & he’s a boy     & there are butterflies

        in your stomach that should not be there.

you know this & yet here you are      kissing him under

the night sky & city lights       your body holding his in a song of love & pain.        

    mapping the silk of his skin,

            tracing the moonlit silver of his hair,

trying to unpack the fear in his bones        & ease him out of his body,

see how much of him you can fit in the chapel of your mouth.

scrub his tongue clean of grief / because this is not a sin     

    this is not a sin — you whisper the words harshly 

down his throat / like absolution / 

like it can undo the taboo of you.

tomorrow, you will run his fingers across your neck,

teach him the song of these scars & tell him how once,

your father tried to choke you out of your body.

    but today / just for today / you need to feel

what it’s like / to kiss a beautiful boy / under the stars /

taste the songs on his skin.

you’re a boy & he’s a boy & you have become fearless

        & your butterflies are beautiful

            & see the way he blooms beneath your fingers.

come   /   step into the light   /   we are not afraid of it.

Biography

Chibueze Obunadike is a young poet whose poems are published in the Best New African Poets 2018 Anthology, Kreative Diadem and elsewhere. He was first runner-up of the Collins Eleisoro Literary Prize. His Chapbook, Smoke is Just a Fancy Word for Burning, was published by Poets In Nigeria, 2020.