Four Poems by Michael Akuchie

My Mother Walks Me

through a dream where a ballroom is capital city. Here is where I do not conceal the honesty
of my dance steps. Where each trip is an only misjudged move. Where each fall is a door to
a harvest of sympathy. Here, my mother dusts off the silt of inaction. She shoots towards
the horizon of a dawn far apart from the cemetery of bones. This dream is a garden & each wish a supple fruit that is obtainable. It is here I climb the tower of her voice, wade into
the trill of her pronunciations. I gather with ease the moonlight of our smiles, her audacity
of affection, my elongation of awe.

Where I Need to Be 

I crawl out of my room to climb
the roof to watch

the moon paint the sky & the rest
of us a great white.

What’s mine is this year of loneliness, this season
where only the comings

& leavings of shadows feature.
Away from the stench

of rotting friendships, the limbs
of my soul flourish with

a leap into the fields of air.
I muster a troop of confidence

to carve out a brook
of affection for my company

To be the means of a shelter.
God & I bump shoulders, return

each other’s greeting & make room
for the wind in our conversation.

The Tenor of a Familiar Ache

The zinc of the roof keeps
complaining about the rain’s thump.
O, a thunderstorm veils
the manner in which I cry.

I have always declared to commit
this vessel of breath towards
the activity of survival, to rest
in the ribcage of a Christian heaven.

In the parlor of a dream, all that
is fitted with lungs suffer the blight
of gloom. Every hand, hoof, paw
& gill that is seen are exposed

to sadness which is no more
than a discounted rate of suffering.
What dulls their hearts curls
into mine & clogs it up.

Light shoots in several directions
save for this district of murk.
The wind is a murmur of hostility,
lightning a glimpse of what will end me.

Workday at a Construction Site

Lungfuls of dust, the wind swinging
acres of cement about—

Fed sand the texture of a seashore,
the mixer grunts
& masticates the rigor of stone.

Sunlight thrashes
down a country of hair whitened
by digging—

What’s relevant is a streak of labor,
the venture in lifting weights
& dressing a structure with
an oath of completion.

Michael Akuchie @Michael_Akuchie is a poet of Igbo-Esan descent. Wreck, a chapbook manuscript (Winter 2020, The Hellebore Press) was selected by José Olivarez to win The 2019-2020 Hellebore Poetry Scholarship Award. Winner of the 2020 Roadrunner Prize for Poetry, he is a one-time nominee for Best of the Net and The Orison Anthology respectively. He tweets @Michael_Akuchie and reads submissions for Frontier Poetry. 

Banner Art: Talking to the Moon, a digital artwork by Robert Frede Kenter

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