a gutting happens on stage. the witch, summoned
from a dough — still belly ovoid with curse.
yet, no canine pewed over it. Pa translates
blood to mean ‘αίμα(aima), mouthwashing the verb
into a clean sport. This has been his love language:
tonguing Greek words — in the way I too have
to lose a tooth in the utterance. the next
ghostwrites the witch as a maddened apparition,
driving nail into plywood to achieve sex.
all my lifetime, I am haunted by the footage of a ruffian —
who prances across a courtyard to strike the
German Shepherds by foot. They meal over him,
giving the audience a run for their legs.
say, you find harm to outpace. thank the fitness of foot.
thank the femur & calcium that fills it with
tonight’s horse race.
thank the sudden show off & accident of breath.
the witch ties the knot. her brooch flirting the
with goofer-dust unspooling from dress — as
men chase the wild conffeti. It’s a rare sight having
rain down our feet. shredded pieces,
that ain’t the remains of a ruffian.
on the runway,
I loved the witch to flowering. her groom lost his life
in a cult clash, & I do not man up to break the news. instead,
I palm her a dagger — brightened on each neon lamp
flaming this podium. instead, I teethe on her
winter wears me out. I come from a longline of bestsellers.
killing the villain role runs in the family.
I verb a hand, the filming grinds to a halt:
dagger-bright, with the protagonist — dead before climax.
I trail the blood down to the make-up artist,
& my witchcraft
of a aunt denies me. I test the
the hot sting of my voice, unfurling — in a way you
could mistake the chattering for chant.
the flatulence for flattened bodies. ricochet for rehab.
we make the news this way: swording
our loins into perfection, playing dead on
one knee — her lids, kicked open.
there’s a technical know-how
to strip a witch in repose. her gum, coraled in
glass—as our lips knead into each other for pleasure.
our groins: Siamese deity, sprouting a love protest — consummate
for ritual. I claw her open,
freeze her womb: dream, cold in there as a fetus.
we patch a purpose, as she grieved into me polished
in blood. we held our guts to marriage. here, look how you
ripen a curse. how inordinate — our demands.
[Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) is a black African writer & graduate of 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 FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Timber Ghost Press, Haven Spec Magazine, Utopian Science Fiction, Penumbric Speculative Poetry & Fiction Magazine, SilverBlade Magazine, Liquid Imagination & elsewhere. A 3x Best of the Net, and 7x Pushcart Nominee. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.]