I gather my shame into a pool at midnight, constellating.                                                                       Is it not a wonder how starlight needs darkness

to be this radiant? How the sky is only a tray                                                                                                                 & the moon, a sliced fruit served frozen.

I have seen the sun resurrect too many times                                                                      illuminating my consciousness in aggressive yellow

to wish darkness upon it:

a darkness so dark                                                                                                                          light cannot comprehend it.

Once I saw a house on fire—flames                                                                                                   licking the walls & roof fiercely—

I felt for it, the fire.

It must know of hunger & ache,                                                                                                          the appetite of its appetite widening

to swallow the animal whole.

Someone said to me, your poems are just too dark

& I couldn’t believe it. Do you not see how brightly my shame

glows in every line? & what is light without the prospect

to someday dim? Beauty, a perfect ignition for the beast.

Truly, my darkness gleams; my gloom shimmers.

Iheoma Joakin-Uzomba is the Editor of The Muse Journal No. 50. She is a winner of the Lagos-London Poetry Prize and a longlistee of the Poetically-Written Prose Contest. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming on Rattle Magazine, Palette Poetry, Chestnut Review, The Shore Poetry, The Rising Phoenix Review, Isele Magazine, Arts Lounge and elsewhere.