Edmondson & Athol

Chekwube Danladi

from BWR 44.1

                                       The secret divulged like this:
gyrating under the panoptic apparatus, visage blue
as Uranus. This hood’s hidden axis as much tipped. These
blue hands grabbing hold whatever lie keeps folk stalwart
in their fear, when they think on us–if they do–be
            the exhaustion of black genitals. I was tired
of not wanting to be a girl, and the block
became the cure. I had stepped out,
Domi to the right of me. Her femininity copiously stated,
confessing that she knew my type of strange.

Let arousal be a current called forth by the dark.
I say, tremolo voce, all I need is you
and a plate of fried lake trout. Her offer in turn: if I get her a chicken box,
she’ll have me touch her ass. Remuneration be a good way to say
                                        where the money at.
I know it
as satisfaction decanted. I do it. We eat. It’s how I become
grateful for the tactile. Evening,

Dem Franchize Boyz broadcasted as soundtrack, from
Domi’s mouth, oh I think they like me,
her smoke-smell the fog of hurt. This city’s prickling pettiness
un-easing us, the summertime’s promise of murder like sugarcane,
setting us teeth on edge this epoch. Evening, a minivan goes full ghetto:
soul food sold out the passenger side, mixtapes doled out the trunk.
Evening, this boy-hood gets welcomed, gets asked by some dirt bike boys
how it feel to earn that feel? Asked if I’d got that taste.
I feign shy, tout the celestial object to celebrate what’s been seized,
my reply not enough to recount what got lost that day.
It was good, I say, way good.

Chekwube Danladi was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in Washington, D.C. and West Baltimore. Her chapbook, Take Me Back, was included as part of the New-Generation African Poets: Nne boxset in 2017. She has received support from Callaloo, Kimbilio, the Vermont Studio Center, Hedgebrook, and the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing.