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.
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.
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.