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“Binary” by Ugonna-Ora Owoh

“Binary” by Ugonna-Ora Owoh

the world left an oak in the belly of my first body 

i left too soon         i was spine out of summer inside

another man’s sweat-slick throat     forgive me

if i was binary         i dipped my flesh into two 

separate fragments         in my birth country   i was the 

dusk creeping on walls            hoping to find the 

handprint of safety           siren bursting the street 

like twisting laughter               cancering fear into 

me       thinking of the needy body drawing 

so close to god          bone compression my 

bedazzled foe      i was smart and stupid and

the dusk fed me its anger the way my body was 

cement and concrete      i could have died of blood 

pressure           brown skin turned into yellow 

surrender       the color of my blood      i drank a glass of my body’s betrayal     

the body i came to inhabit is too ugly      too strange
                        too violent houses mirror as disaster 
                        speaks too much paradise and i’m afraid
                        that what will kill me is the lies as
                        violent as my new name you can dine
                        with me death is giving me too many

Ugonna-Ora Owoh is a Nigerian poet, writer and model. He is a 2019 Editor choice winner of the Stephen A. Dibaise poetry prize and has been nominated for the 2018 Young Romantics prize and 2019 Erbacce prize. His works has appeared in The Southampton Review, The Malahat Review, The Fat Crab Magazine, Matador Review, Strange Horizon, Frontier Poetry and elsewhere. He is a reader at Helen literary Magazine and The Malahat Review. Find him at Ugonnaoraowoh@instagram

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