*First Runner-up for the A.O. Ejesu Poetry Prize with The Muse no. 48 Journal.

Hope has a place
in every winter sky. every rotting bone.
The birds die like old women.
Like how grandma asked that eyes be shut
when she put a leg on the other side.
Crossing over is a journey by train, she said,
The track leads on and on and on
in unison with the train’s heartbeat.
there is no one to draw you out
from the midnight wind, shaped like cars.
Mama, daily we wish to part with this skeleton
with this flesh that draws us into lighted rooms
where while smiling we mourn things that couldn’t be.
It is as though each step taken in reverse
Is a compass pointing away from broken bottles and shrapnels.
We are named after things we dread:
strong. colourful. happy.
And on most nights, we wish to pierce like light
through windows, into dark rooms
but our souls are too blunt.
we hit every wall like a ramming vehicle.
every pole when we find wind.
yet we don’t die.
after each breaking we pick our bones,
drag it when it is too crippled to walk
and say O body, you can do it again.

Orjichukwu ChikamObi Golding currently studies English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. His works have been published or are forthcoming in Young African Writers Anthology, The Muse Journal, Pencillite, and others. He is currently the mate custodian of The Writers Community, a small literary family in UNN. You can hit him up on Twitter @Chikamobi