A Poem by Chinedu Gospel

Psalm for A Jewish Boy

dying is my own way of remembering.
i still feel that every hand that tries to mend
me, is an incoming bullet straying from the
mouth of a cop’s gun. my body folds into
a tide & carries the memories on its surface.
i mean, when you look at me, you’d see a boy
trying to unwear disaster. animal shawl around
my head—my mother had crowned me with
a halo of grace. but, it yellowed into grief. &
do you know why my hands keep groping
in the sky for water. i was once water—a gentle
tide. now—a pronoun for unrest. even my
wounds lick salt to survive. light cuts me in
half. & i am found—another crescent—
in the mouth of God. boy, softening into
cotton. his eyes, a white lie. before this poem, i
was a psalm in my mother’s mouth. a song
yet unsung. a school of furs rise from my pores
to learn the science thermodynamics—how
my body heats up from winter to winter. yet,
does not shrink. bath me, & my body unfurls
into folds of miracles. bird me, & i plummet
from the sky. but, do not break. because, i’d
been broken in too many poems. sometimes,
i feel my body is the threshold of ruin. the sky’s
silver hem. & i’m a beauty that folds into night.
a flower. not flower enough. i scent like jasmine,
only if you inhale from the window. but in the
grasp of a soft hand, i wilt. & if the wings of a
bird are truly hollow—empty of grief—then,
the bird will elevate at the  s  t  r  e  t  c  h  i  n  g  of the
sun to sing songs. see me—ill boy on the bed of
his elegy, inhaling the gospels of grief—dying
afresh at every single breath.

Chinedu Gospel, Frontier IV, is an emerging Nigerian poet. He writes from Anambra where he also studies. He is the moderator of audio poetry at Threposs poetry community. He won an honourable mention in the Kreative Diadem annual writing contest 2021 (poetry category). He also won the StarLit Award for the winter issue 2021 of Aster Lit. He has seen his works published in Agbowó, Aster Lit, Claw & Blossom, Rough Cut Press, Walled City Journal, Poetry Column NND, Midway Journal, Rigorous Magazine, Feral, Afro Lit Mag & elsewhere. He plays chess and reads poetry when he’s not working. Say hi on twitter @gonspoetry & IG @gospelsofpoetry.

Banner Art: “Witness” (c) 2022, Robert Frede Kenter. Twitter: @frede_kenter.

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