i do not know how this poem wears

the portrait of everything that calls me 

 ̶u̶n̶h̶o̶l̶y̶ weakling. truth is: i have grown

a potbelly from munching too many unsaid words. 

call me toothless knife/ tongueless church bell

swinging on roof of a chapel. in class four, 

papa ironed my tongue [for letting 

a schoolboy bullet a fist to my eye], & my 

words came out weightless. last night, my lover kissed the music on my lips, 

& i melted into papier-mâché / soft as nebulae. 

Elohim, will you not teach me the chemistry 

of manliness, / how to uncage the ravens

fluttering in my throat? each time i unbolt

my lips to lyric a poem, my tongue forces itself

to stillness/ morphs into a millstone

in my mouth. all my life i have been uprooting 

my veins to string this broken guitar. 

Lord, will you not circumcise me of my weakness 

without charring this body into a new metaphor?

i am learning to bird my silence into 

a flying thing/ to unname everything that calls me

coward. there is a skylark in the soft of my palm

struggling for flight/ for oxygen. look, 

my limbs are flourishing. my palms,

twin cities surviving the ruin of a body. 

in this poem, every boy is the cardigan of a rainbow. 


Author Bio:

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 and journals, including: The Shallow Tales Review, My Shuzia magazine, Walled City Journal, Wine Cellar Press mag, The African Writers Review, amongst others. Currently, he reads poetry for LERIMS magazine. He tweets @literati22.