by Precious Arinze



The night brings down its moon to dance in the windows. My father sits on a bed, under the heaving umbrella of whiskey or dying & declares himself innocent in every story. & because it is expected of me, I am trying to believe pain becomes temporary after the wound closes. The way every break in the weather erases the season before it, despite the tree’s insistence on remaining where it was planted. I don’t know who we are or what I am. There should be a word for that. Not estranged, but something equally capable of reflecting blood. I no longer believe in a God that could watch his hunger arrive each day like an efficient train and do nothing. Still, I try to pray sometimes because I need things explained to me. Maybe if I chewed up pages of the Bible we could manufacture forgiveness. An amnesty of braided tongue. A history rewritten and bruiseless. When memory is broken into like a safe, does the body ever stop ringing? When can I hear baby spill like sunshine through a gargle of rain from my lover’s mouth & have it be just soft & kind & not the wound I came out of. Baby baby baby. Put that everyplace where my name should be & may it never again dissolve in my ears. Soon the earth will hide something of ours in her bosom again. When that happens, my name will be all I know of myself. Given the evidence of history and bloodlines, I will come to forget that too. & if I am not a lover or child to anyone, what will become of me then?



Precious Arinze writes poems and essays when they are not sitting in Lagos traffic and contemplating the decisions that have led them to make home in this city. Their work has appeared in Kalahari Review, Arts and Africa, The Republic Journal, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Electric Literature, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Berlin Quarterly, amongst others.

Back to Vol. V: “Act/Break”