Chinedu Gospel, Frontier IV
I initiate my body into the river.
Baptizand, willing & incapable of
harm. & stranger to cataclysm. I,
baptism. I, baptist. Flooded &
ark. I learned to pull strings out
of my palms, when I’m lonely. It
was how light crept into the
sudden eclipses in my tongue.
All I said—became. Except that
the memories didn’t tame their fangs.
I chopped my verbs into flowers &
spidered every petal with webs. It was
how I practiced the art of forgetting.
Everything I leaned on, suffered
a cold on their feet, including me.
But, I’ve learned that trembling
is the easiest way to reach the edge.
So, like glass resonating to the
climax of a piano’s song, I reach
the brink of despair—delicate
& un-eyed. Yet, I do not plummet
into shards. I emerge. Like fire from
ring. Isn’t it true that a thing is broken
& broken & broken. Until it can no
longer be broken? I swear, this body
never used to speak wreckage. At
least, not with those fingers that touched
it neshly. The softest thing is silence.
& how it easily bursts open into
bedlam. Into bruises. Into fissures.
To rupture a body, contain it with
so much love & then, never return.
You’d see how presence outpaces
touch. How all we want is to be in peril.
I dip my head into the church
of a river. Emerge as a dove—clean.
But incapable of halos.
Of glory. Of songs.
CHINEDU GOSPEL, FRONTIER IV is an emerging Nigerian poet. He plays chess and tweets @gonspoetry. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in various online and print magazines as Hoax Publications, Fiyah Magazine, Foglifter Press, Agbowo arts, Habour Review and Blue Marble Review.