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“Predawn” by Samuel Ugbechie

“Predawn” by Samuel Ugbechie


Like words on her tongue, warm
and damp, love spoke and flowed
this way, like bia, biko, n’anya—neat

leaflets of language, I lie
on her breath and palm,
and smell her secrets, those

she never knew she kept. Tonight,
darkness screams, rain rolls
like thread on the windows,

and insects crouch and cringe.
Make love like the clouds make
rain: slowly, beautifully;

make me a lover again.
Tonight, the comb ducks comb
the stream, penguins prey

and play in their colony,
syntactically, and the trail
is a line of meaning. Leave

me lonely, like a verb escaping,
out of the mouth of this gully,
out of wet and slurred breath,

from nothing from which nothing
comes. Yet I love you like a lie: its
position, its bent, its slant;

and far from the pit of its tale.
It’s how we hunch and lie,
and sit atop our moments.

Language heals. The sign, fluid,
body. You excavate a river
out of your sentences,

so I can wade with these shoe-
bills, becoming the bird
I always wanted.

Samuel Ugbechie is a software engineer and writer. He lives in Benin City, Nigeria.

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