I wasn't sure how or why, but
somehow, the rain at the first light of day
told us why the sun would come out late
and why the climbers on the hedge would be left uncut.
I never thought about a river in America,
but I knew one here in Nigeria, and I know
how the wind spins an empty boat drifting
from the darker edge of a mindful river.
I know why the rain isn’t water but
a girl travelling through nothing
to make her place in a town
beneath monstrous stars.
I'm not sure when, but I was told
that she would leave.
She was older, she would see the world first, and I would
sit beside her in the boat and ask her to let me pick the lily.
or was it me who didn't see the lily
until she showed me how it meandered?
No one told me the sweat on her cheeks were tears
but I knew she was just as lonely as
the planet that spun on her father's desk.
Everything in the house was spinning and she left
to become another island on the creek;
she looked just like New York City, her mindless
body wandering just beneath the surface, above
the black deepness.

I thought of similarities and how they are peculiar to conditions;how a mosquito bite hurts like the sting of a razor hired to ripmy skin; how the thin blade's red traces are the silent doppelgangers of the red ink used to separate judicial decisions from usual statements.
Placing the blade back in its coat of red and white, I wondered: who's to say that the rightful place of pain is not in the flesh that binds you to yourself? I thought of similarities and how they are peculiar to conditions; how the crack on one end of my room's wall is a parallel destroyer. To the lovely and lonely louvres breaking their own barriers(oh, how everything here threatens to end a life or two or more)...and who is to tell us that pain is not an entity that bears the forms of many creatures, including the most joyous courses of life?
I thought of similarities and how they are peculiar to conditions; how the cockroach stuck in the kitchen sink hung on like semen on the school shirt; so what is to drown, what must be cleansed,
what ought to be killed, what should be forgotten?
And who is to tell me that pain is not shaped
like the ambiguous sweetness of his tongue in my mouth?


Jude Chike is the alter-ego of a young adult from southern Nigeria. Stuck in this chaotic and fragile (phenomenal and daring) planet, they create art in the light of their queer (art) ancestors and fantasize about moving to other worlds when they are not reading or creating. Their works have appeared in Lolwe, LitGleam Magazine and elsewhere. Find them on Twitter and Instagram (both @jude4art).

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