Cat’s Cradle

This is as good a spot as any
to speak on architecture. Dust.
Bravado. Small talk. How we know
the common synonyms for a bridge.
Or concession. How to design anything
for the sake of privilege. Last Sunday,

a man I could call my brother
in any cathedral barks out a detour
at a woman walking into one. Shawty,
let me see what’s up with ya. Damn girl.
I do not instantly call him out for it and yet,
pedestrian as a leash, I continue the task of

deconstructing a pizza from across the street
for the hell of it. And there are many ways
my tongue has avoided the topic of treatment,
of the calm patriarchy lends me. I imagine what
the sermon has to say about forgiveness, a syntax
for conditions engendered that I couldn’t quote

you to save my life. A friend of mine tells me
about her assault, reiterates that violence is not
private and I think myself privy to all constructs
of the world. At some point. He did what?
I’m sorry you had to experience that. Before I
hang up, I slip my finger, thin as a whisker, into

my brass mailbox and it happens again. Ugh.
Of courseWhy me. A paper cut. I curse
my refrain to the universe. Numb as the
vain my veins summon, it is familiar to
the flesh, selfdom. That I could even
finish this poem, walk out into the world
and cry about karma, of all things. 



Olatunde Osinaike is a Nigerian-American poet originally from the West Side of Chicago. He is Black, still learning and eager nevertheless. An alumnus of Vanderbilt University, his most recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in ApogeeHEArt OnlineHobartAnomalyPuerto del SolGlass: A Journal of Poetry, and Columbia Poetry Review, among other publications. You can find him at









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