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Poems like this refuse Sound,
My Cramp bears Music Enough

Nnadi Samuel

[content note: incest, rape]

Pa is unscored ghazal.

                 alas, my grief shifts note & the storm Lazarus our hairlines. 

sorrow playing Jesus, playing resurrection cheap


those buying it—sums up to all the boldness I haven’t mustered 

to let Pa know his acts don’t 

                 preach, yet earned me a whooping sum of salvation. I mouthwash the 


Psalm, scoop Chronicles into my loin. how best to script him with the right trauma, 

without muddling my lap?


late red-riot sums up to how I see my monthlies, unsee the heinous male hardened

by my 

          hurt. & that of his spouse: mistress, fine-tuning blood to harbor a man making 

his bass seem a weapon.

cuts, booming brightly from her thighs.

the sound catches 

                                 as Incest in my teenage year. a ripeness so me, it takes a veggie 

like Pa to reach out when no one does. 

                                                             & yes, of all penetrations Pa knifed into my bodice, 

swearing if I had absorbed more blades, my puberty won’t have been this rapid. In truth,


understate here. Pa honed this longing to harm my softness. made his jerking device

                              spill bad blood across our afterbears. It lunatics me, this orgy: an

 adult setting his animal upon a minor. a sadness beyond my youth. I’m preteen

                                                                                                       & still adoring blood. 

rinsing steady, like the red torches if prolonged on my crotch. I burn for a thing I haven’t 

voiced, say blade. an attempt to play Pa in my own trauma—sums up to who really is at 

loss here.

                         here’s my stand: It sucks how Ma suffered in your hands. how your 

hands suffers me. It sucks how you jut your bony weapon of bliss,

                          expecting me to suck it up. you soil my years with vermillion blood, 


I revel in its color. here’s the pus, furious with white grace. yet, stinks to know I’m trying 

not to cut you off, despite

                                        all the gashes in this poem. I grieve, the countless times a 

throbbing slice of light finds your palm strangling a teabag. such needless 

                                                                                                                        use of 

violence, first known by me, then Ma, now this porous sac. Pa—the knife & haunting 

minute. he had shoved Ma into oblivion.

                                           my heart skips at his footstep. or do I assume my life a 

bonus track? I let the poem throw more hint on this. say, my knock-knee is a repetition 

of pardon. what then is Pa if not a misdemeanor?  I unlock his palms. dream them neat 

& it was. waking up                                                       

                                                                                                                         sums up to a

treacherous Pa                                    

                                                                                                                          sums up to a wound

or deadbeat

                                                                                                                          sums up to how I hurricane these stanzas & 


still not done here.


the storm Lazarus my fear.

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a BA in English & literature from the University of Benin and is the author of Nature knows a little about Slave Trade (Sundress Publication, 2022). His works have been previously published or are forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, NativeSkin Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, The Deadlands, Commonwealth Writers, Jaggery, Foglifter, The Capilano Review, Lolwe, The Spectacle Magazine, Maine Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Gutter Magazine, Carte Blanche, Trampset, and elsewhere. Winner of the Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020, Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021 (University of Louisville), Penrose Poetry Prize 2021, Lakefly Poetry Contest 2021 (Wisconsin), and the International Human Right Arts Festival Award (IHRAF) New York 2021. He is the Bronze winner for the 2022 Creative Future Writers Award. He tweets @Samuelsamba10. 

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