Nnadi Samuel

Nebulous Strike in Minnesota

Six months into prepartum trauma, I occupied the alley,

            tummy-red & indecent with blood clotting fiercely like

iridescent fog on a Sunday, as I irony my way into a female talk

             with my godmother. Her passion for poetry, squeezed

from tonight’s sharp want, to cause a small miracle of breeze and

nebulous strike in Minnesota—

          whose landscape toughens with maple wood snow ridden by

the thickest

           pang of dust: monsoon flatulence. a gas breaking on my elephant feet.

I kegel in the warmth, memorizing the old baobab plant potted by my foster

father, whose mortgage

            exceeds a headcount & by all means, indebts we— his descendants and

all our afterbears. Loan, beyond estimate sits nameless as a scattered blood

right we inherit with caution.

            the curse we put a face to, as banks flag down our surname. Right here,

taking my godmother

              to the moon and back with a love poem, I tongue distance— the length of

 a metaphor.

              her uplifting to the chorus, desperate for a rising. The way the fetus

inside me attains weightlessness,

               manly afloat in baritone pulse. the vibe that brings life to rectum.

Tell me about birth, my traveling, my approach to language in concealed


of a lost flesh: days I cribbed in my godmother’s hut. red clay,

printing it’s brutal remarks on my turned back. my feet, 

            sashaying the railing my foster father fixed decades

back, in the timely fashion

of a stone coffin— durable in its wearing out. from the audible distance

of a co-wife, the shout fills me with monsoon, ruptured breath.

a daggered flatulence,

               released in the harmful custom of a birthing. , reeling

the way the fetus folds, clenching its shapeless fist while I stabilize my

eager, worn-out breath to suit the calmness of township:

                my Iowa dreams, exaggerated everywhere across the border

holding those who raised me. I dragged my skin like an animal,

throughout three cardinal points— till my

                luck went South. A wanderer, unsettled by the inner works of clime.

unable to language in clearly distilled allomorph

                I’m torn apart by grammar. the manner of its safe delivery, stuck

between my thighs.

Woman, if not anything, a terror gadget, surviving pills & the messy

contractions, to forge a replica from her fallen relic.

Woman, if not anything

                uncontained as the whirlwind. a neat violence, stretched across a

 young navel withstanding all harms thrown at it:

the tactics of a warfare.

A Glossary of Artillery Terms

Iowa tenderizes our immigrant flesh into the havoc of a rifle,

                                                            stale on a woman’s lip.

language pulls me to where a female rips her lungs— dragging


                             black alphabet that mourns her passing away.

she mouthwashes an adjective, trims her nail till its red tip takes

                             the form of a loud verb. to cherish where I’m


is to add guns to our part of speech, It is to be at peace with the

                             waltzing hotness of a missile. the cloud— a white

sheet, pierced by a loaded projectile that isn’t firework.

                             I wish to account for this place, & not lose my tongue

to a death-plague that shapes like this

country— stabbed onto a pie chart. this year, violence preserved


delicate life. In the next, I want to have more crime in my name.

                              Minnesota’s temper veining through my wrist.

I love it for its other half mirroring my loss.

                              lady, dulling her skin to die at her own pace:

too bright to keep up with this town. each darkness finds me falling

                              in love with this body alive, but for a while.


rib cage of females I’ve known crosshatching as countries at loggerheads.

                              you cherish where I’m from by loving it sideways,

without the tip of a gun pointing at your heartbeat. in our palm: a warfare.

                              in our thoughts: a woman derailing a stray bullet with

prayer beads.

the way she pleads “the blood”, as though we haven’t shed more of that lately,

                              as if this red-faced object isn’t me bullet bright, dashing my

loin to the

                              ground— if that’s the softest way to call this body quit. I wish

to amplify my

bones, to make a loud statement. I’m wounded by the consonance of ‘Iowa’ mud-

                               breaking through my lips, as a cannon hawking a well-dressed

echo. I sustain the entirety of grammar in a verse looted at gunpoint. you survive

this country only by dodging the voiced

                               bilabial plosive— that goes boom! everywhere your feet touches.

Chaos Theory

I go gently towards the ruin, cradling a lover.

we loot the street’s nominals; trying to shop for the right pronouns,

trying to out-guess all possible ways humanity has to trim us.

as I dress this manuscript, there is someone out there opting out of the binary.

my straight mother, grieving through the boy I did not bend to be.

exit was too much luxury.

yet, she mourned the boyhood I left behind so well

I picked a different nominal that defies her blessings:

anything to keep me out of her mouth.

I shoplift a noun too aggressive for her prayers.

I want her without hurt, still

when she beats her tongue, the words arrange me by bits.

I know the efficacy of vowels.

girlhood beads like soft wreckage over my skin.

each female I’ve known glory in the accident.

dying hits my feminine side,

and I bow under the sharp weight of inheritance— stone-cold,

& intimate with the loss.

of what use is empathy, for a world ebbing towards chaos?

at dusk, my lover and I palms the ruffled cigarette,

and flames a riot from there.

our lips, incinerating grammar.

each female I’ve known could outlast an uprising.

I, a pronoun this perishable.

I shouldn’t be seen fragile, but for the rules governing this body.

Its mere syntax.

how I come to terms with knowing that English has my sexuality at heart

far more than the world.

binary is aging arithmetic. I attempt subtraction, and my folk calls it misfortune

befalling them in simpler terms.

they build the ruin into a protest the poem sustains a thorough gash in.

everything else stays dead.

the smoke abates. I outlast the flame, half-baked.

kitchen shout outs to all females, effeminate kids

and those risking their lungs to tear gas.

I wanted a poem without corpse.

I go gently towards the ruin, cradling a lover.

mallet and a proem in my hands.

they seek destruction and prelude:

what way to acknowledge those we lost to this.

what sobbing tragedy.

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. Author of ‘Nature knows a little about Slave Trade’ selected by Tate.N.Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). His works have been previously published/forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, NativeSkin lit Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, Common Wealth Writers, The Capilano Review, Poetry Ireland, The Spectacle Magazine & elsewhere. A 3x Best of the Net, and 6x Pushcart Nominee. He won the Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020 & Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021(University of Louisville).

Poet Nnadi Samuel