Plant skeletons, that is, firethorns
in bony frames, cushion flowers
in cartilages, unmoving, frozen
in the diaper white of dew,
and, at dawn, you walk me into the belly
of the land—the tunnel we passed through
a small intestine, where the stomach
of a lawn empties itself, where shrinking
pebbles seem to break down
and digest, where fallen leaves hide
their faces under the sand, but,
it’s been more than a year since I saw you,
and I’m willing to be taken in by the mouth
of this valley, go through this swampy throat
with you, and be eaten and swallowed,
if by walking and holding hands,
we feed this hunger in us, and linger
still at the tract of shrublets,
where a party of peafowls begin and end,
their descent a slide of digestion,
their liftoff like sputum spat out,
and then they disappear,
as every strand of your hair blows
against my eyes, as every copestone tilts,
while our wedding rings reflect similar colors--
saffron, gamboge and,
taking the first step back home,
we watch the river belch and overrun its bank--
cattails and skunk cabbage like food crumbs,
swept onto the porch of the shore.
Of superclusters and dark matter,
of our ability to speak in sheets
and galaxies, of our attempts at packed stars
and roundish shells—the being we’re becoming,
the interaction that shifts our focus, the tide
that levels us, the black hole that disappears.
We’re reworking the brightness today.
A galactic disc slips in. Planchet-like things, puck,
saucer, coin blank white and clean. Puncturing
the brown planes like a pin puncturing a balloon,
or an ice pick puncturing a tire,
is a four-fly proton beam. Neurons shoot
at the holes. A giant core crashes, fishtails
its scattering on the feet of the tussocks, loops
and shuffles and softens on the cockspurs,
hunkers down as liquid. Its voice whittles the world.
On its tongue, a green pipe leans, collects
white gums on the wavebands, tips them,
licks them, swallows them alive. The yard smells
of eglantine. It is you—bright, prickly, pinkish.
Optical doors tear open. Bushtits whimper.
Whatever was missed, whatever was burnt out,
or charred, whatever was interred with the dusts,
lay twirping under a firebush. It’s a bird.
A conelike one. It’s a brown top and a long tail
with a voice.
SAMUEL UGBECHIE’s works have appeared in Sentinal UK, Wikicolumn, Elsewhere Lit, Jalada, and elsewhere. In 2012, he won the Sentinel All-Africa Poetry Competition, was a finalist in the 2014 RL Poetry Award (International), and was longlisted for the 2014 National Poetry Competition. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection.