The Light Behind

Tipped woodchucks. A thick claw
of an afternoon’s structure pulling

down the clouds. Light
like a curved spine of radiance

widening and spreading like solace
on the heads of the gum trees.

I landed on this fur of a land
to let all of nature pierce through me

and wash me off you and to smelt
of itself a new cell for my life.

Everywhere is a bound book
of burrows. Torn pages of warrens.

Mangled paperbacks of tunnels
soaked from the flashflood

of protest the previous week
had egested on the land.

How we love tightly is how we stay
vastly apart. And forgetting you

I step onto the pleasure trip
of exploring anew all of the openings

and closures of all the feelings
we’ve fueled thinly all these years.

Being here makes an alien out of me
and in the spell of it all

I notice how deeply I’ve missed all
of that floury stranger humming

in you. Letting go barely let go.
Winds chuckle. Thick woods make

a dense undergrowth of the landscape.
I walk into the dark grove of it all,

quietly as the afternoon murmurs
its susurrus on everything.

 

In the Valley that Day

A bell-like voice, an afternoon
ringing chatter and rain, stock

doves in their purple-patched rebellion,
wing-barred, their notes as tonal

as the language falling
from the people’s tongues.

Hoopoes hop and go.
Kids grip their mother’s hems

as though a stitch is a shield,
and an edge a sheath. Coming here,

putting on the beach wear of a new life
I’d tried each day in my former life

trying to sew, my body, folded
like an apparel, longs to be fashioned

again. My being is a vesture
that wants to be reforged.

I yearn for the bright duffel
of the families murmuring past me.

A patched soul alone, I reach
for the plaid and plush of bodies

loving the water like they hope
to be loved. A life here

is fastened somehow to a life
elsewhere, and my life, no different,

is tailored neatly and colorfully
into you. And you’re the body afar

that has peeled me off itself,
and disrobed me too early

of all of its muscles and bones.
The eyelashes of the landscape

drop on our heads like an augury.
A blur of the sun rolls in. A breeze

like your breath wafts
so gently and warmly against my skin.

 

An Azure Mesh

Auricular patches, a promontory
like a bird crown above the country.

Stripes of the sun line each block
like a streak of longing.

This is where I stretch into the land’s
secret pocket. I hear your voice

in its song box. All you say,
I guess, is all I never heard

by the rump of my solitude.
A flight, a walk and a sail

are what distance plants
into this spot. A belly of a hill

underpins my legs. I stare
long from its bulge, look

with all of my being, hoping
I catch the nape of your presence

somehow. I hope you hum
past me, wade past me

in the river of my yearning,
swoop down to my toes and breathe

on me, once more, with your warmth.
Noon today, I swallow the sun-

baked instincts of the country, smell
the rawhide of its warning, and hold

a bird’s eye view of the blue fiber
of our love, elevated thinly atop

an azure mesh of towers
and floor plans and stream.

 

Breaststrokes

Jawless face, a frilled beauty
of your body finning in the blue

water. Skull roof of a moment
of bones, slowly shifting within

our bright bodies while we wade
through our schooling tide of conflict.

Thinking we could drown a feud,
we float—cartilages like tissues

of strife drifting, vomers
like the shape of voice boxes

roaring, blow past in one fluid
motion, and, seeing you shudder

for the first time, swirling
with each leaping purl of doubt,

I swim back to our frozen past,
unbroken, yet, whole

as it is, it neither moves nor melts.
It neither dissolves nor resolves.

Fusing into this last skin-
dive of affection, I crave for your lobe-

skinned love, I fondle the caudal
fin of your crawl atop water, I let

every scute of the moment fall
off my skin, and look at you

with eyes that could only capture you
this free, with a stare that waits,

then breaks, making itself again
within a scattering of clavicles

and bowfins and gills.

 

Samuel Ugbechie

Samuel Ugbechie

Samuel Ugbechie’s works have appeared in Sentinel, Elsewhere Lit, Nottingham Review, Bird’s Thumb, Jalada, and elsewhere. When he isn’t writing, he is either playing basketball, soccer or listening to some debate or music. Some of his works have been recognized in some awards like the National Poetry Competition, Vice- Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, Frederick Holland Poetry Collection Award, RL Poetry Award.

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