Onyedikachi Chinedu

Inert Paw

too good to set out at dawn, to reach with bacon.
my swollen feet from sprinting the clueless rail.

I’ve lived for a while, and I know demolition is
a bomb growing in massive light. don’t you think

it’s so painless to remain motionless; how much
work is inert paw?

I lose my impacted tooth to a new age, I force.
my love is mighty in its blood. I feel forestry in a guarded glass.

ever felt pretty? our lips in striking white before now.
be kind; be kind: the macho body is kind is poor is kind.

it perishes. dead like a paddle.
language stifles the chicory.

failing to help, for the first time, the lad, not me,
in the ship’s chassis, bursting his liquid seeds.

Eros as air, as my silence.
I should’ve been a girl ere my twentieth birthday.

how I wanted the disheveled dress
to sway less with style, to be the first to walk

in heels. fractured ankle. colored tampons. vinegar.
the girl’s rite as salt.

yet, again, the excitement
is a wind-swept ash urn.

silence as an ore in the mine.
the miners are excavating the crater;

the compound mined by the miners.
did I not tell you language is rock—concrete at once?

that’s how I have lived as a queer writer
whose heart is a lake of bloated trout and crab.

the clam without a pearl.
there will be no cake as usual.

never will I know the drum of murmurs, or
the ache from so much food.

two raised hands formed at the edges of my mouth.
the knife with asterisk.


Titanic Monologue

not because he was five seas away, tinkering dust
floating above a hillside, but how, often, he has him

beside the bonfire at midday.
at midday, the onion buds are huge,

they provoke the eye to deluge.

in this way, the moon is jaw white, sterile teeth
mirrored against them in a prosperous company.

I would ponder on the moment
we held each other in queer promises—

promising to be the vine and shadow,
to boil in holy matrimony, to

consummate like boastful peacocks,
but to what extent was this red-hot affection

a good emblem of love? wouldn’t you say I was cranky
like hundred herds of antlers ramming on a threat?

I was in love, desiring nothing but love in
its hard state as whinstone.

it was the expanse of the night
reaching out of a place where light

is mildly inevitable.
I should not have been there irrespective

of how he bled red-dishonesty on the slab
suspended on fleeting hours.

time is operational here, like a red dwarf sun.
like how it needs the whole galaxy to feel

its madness & serenity.
when do I say burning up was both a blessing and a curse?

Onyedikachi Chinedu is a poet from Nigeria. Their poems have appeared and are forthcoming in A Long House, Dreich, Rappahannock Review, Stone of Madness Press, Madness Muse Press, Lucky Pierre, Cultural Weekly, Konya Shamsrumi, Poetry Potion, Momento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry, and elsewhere. They’re a 2021 HUES Foundation scholar and reads for Non.Plus Lit.