onye ụkwụ ya?                                                                           by quinton chinwe

this is how we are born: mother so cruelly
dangling a sweet coveted thing
singing at us with a thin smile
drawn over her lips.
her voice, a siren
promising us a home inside her mouth.
the melody shakes through wet
laughter, reaches over my brother’s thighs,
touches my own. one leg, disappeared.
this is how we die: playing
games for children. next are the limbs
carrying my sister. my mother’s voice again
reaches heavy fingers, taps a feather-brown knee
we watch it fade into the past, where old children go
to die. sometimes, it’s the arms.
or the feet follow the refrain into silence.
that song finally lands on my last leg and i turn
fully into smoke.

quinton chinwe is a black trans poet from north carolina, where they study english & comparative literature at the university of north carolina at chapel hill.

Guest Editor Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico.  Her poetry books include Destruction Bay (West End Press) and In An Angry Season. (University of Arizona Press). She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.  She’s delighted to have the opportunity to be Guest Editor here at The Coop for the month of August.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s