the unbottling of hunger

Ernest O. Ògúnyemí reads the unbottling of hunger

when my mother died, everything inside & around me
grew fat bellies, even the tear gland. what is grief if not
the unbottling of hunger? the wind tussled the curtains,
begging for a finger to bite, lightning parted the curtains
of the sky, reaching for the roots of the earth. even the pigeon
on the roof cooed & cooed until my grandma took the pan
of corn & sprinkled some outside the house. then the sky
loosened its fist, & water marked the earth as in the beginning
of time, seeping into the pores of the earth to quench thirst.
the earth, too, grew a mouth, wide enough to take moimi’s body.
when they gave her body, wrapped in translucent white, to the god
of hunger, it took her whole, fleshed off her body, the same one
that brought the men, suckled her bones clean, as clean as
washed china. today, the gravetop grows flowers: joyful tulips,
thornless roses, bellflowers, but even there—there, you’ll find ants.

Ernest O. Ògúnyemí is a writer from Nigeria, with some of his works having appeared/ forthcoming in Litro Magazine UK, Acumen Poetry Journal, Canvas Lit Journal, Ricochet Review, Low Light Magazine, Lucent Dreaming, & elsewhere. He reads submissions for Palette Poetry & Counterclock Journal, & he is curating the Young African Poets Anthology.

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