A Boy ago

Nnadi Samuel

We learnt the waters the length of our teenage year, brother and I.

call me kayak in that lazy drift.

call him the paddle wheel.

Two of us— a perfect duo, racing past bison and tulips,

past the sainted mist.

once, I attempt speaking-in-tongues

and brother cupped my incoherence in seraph palms,

the way you size a demon before casting it out.

once, I drove breadknife to his skin

hoping to leave a scar— how tides leaves their remark on our vessel.

hands shuffling hands:

like this, we took turns in the corporal punishment of paddling.

If I’m worn out, he troubles the water on my behalf.

If he is spent, I win the tide to his side

and we both raced to satisfaction,

else this longing burns out.

l likened crawdads to our own kind of misery,

and he says, anguish comes in species.

I metaphor a bird pummeling the futile wings of its hatchling, as resilience.

love is stubborn crime, he tells me,

and I lavish in the knowing, nearly mouthing my yeses!.

age catches on the skin in gentle patches,

where he first knew his boyhood to blossoming.

If he says bro, I metaphor it as a palm soothing the first ache.

If he says joy, I liken it to grief in transit.

we keep afloat this thought for months.

each night, we swam the aqueducts praying the rivers yawn into rain.

each night, we god the waters.

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) is a black writer and graduate of English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published/forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, Star*Line Fiction Poetry & elsewhere. He is the author of “Reopening of Wounds”. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.

Issue 4

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