I, Hunger

A lighter to your skin is cremation enough.

the next burn becomes arson.

stardust: coal-red with rage, charring the loose soil.

tomb, mud-breaking to a fine smithereen.


from the freshly bombed cave, 

a skyline chases colors to my lips—

stifling the rainbow’s moment of lack.


I hunger in the accent of wildfire, 

of a country’s name wading through gunshots:

the sound—a vowel in motion scolding heaven.


each winter licks a relative from our grip.

& with each dying summer, a storm uproots a rotten corpse 

that blossoms in green pasture—town of my arrival:

Minnesota, with all its shiver.


all of my belonging splayed wide open beneath cruel hands, 

smearing my innocence across the embassy. 


time slackens as the hounds sniffs out my grievance.

when I lodge into an apartment

I lay down in mischief—deboning the blank pages of my 

green card, till it wears out.


this coat of arm shaped like a teenage body.

the unbuttoned cadaver underbridge.


at the riverbank, a SWAT team exhumes a truckload of carcass.

here, body parts are tucked in the lips of earth

—cemented shut the way a jaw bites down on red meat.


won’t you pardon me when I say, 

I lack the animal stink to attract relatives.


at midday, I awake fast-paced as a fang lifting from menace.

my fingerprints on the dying shape of a scarecrow: motionless & blood-ready.

my fur—all hair and nothing else.


in the wake of my exit, I wear white upon white to ghost my shadow into shudder,

surrender sawdust from my tongue. end with vanishing. 

so, when I enter each lifetime—barefaced, 

I merit a blindness, 

ransack the welkins to claw a skyline.



Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. Author of ‘Nature knows a little about Slave Trade’ selected by Tate.N.Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). A 3x Best of the Net, and 7x Pushcart Nominee. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.


Photo by raquel raclette on Unsplash

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