A hundred-mile breath


To unstring sight out of my light-
sewn eyes, to disembowel fear,

as mom says, by rubbing it on my face.
On my tongue a landscape of thorns.

My mouth a messy mountain, a land-
mass of round-backed sounds, a bulge

of bleeding ballads. In my mom’s village,
my toenail rots, escapes from me

as though I was meant to chase it
like growing. Age engluts my teenage years

and unearths me an adult still buried
in his ground. Grind me

into inhalable speech, malleable murmur,
orate me for a bathrobe

of bass. Each morning I wed myself
to wet corners, podium on places

that prey on my legs. Each morning
I’m a corrosion of music among larks,

a rusting and riot, a fire and fiery.
I soil me joyfully, my arms twigging

on trees, my teeth chopping off
branchlets. Unpack a parcel of bees

swarming in my belly, refine honey
like oil on my tongue, mine my legs

like ores, awe at the beg and bow
of bushtits: grey like a strand

of my hair, flying with the height
and strides of four hundred walks piled

on top themselves. In my mom’s house
I browse for stories on her hair. In her eyes

I beetle like a lingerie hung on the door.
My legs are spading the floor, my lower back

a lined sack of rashes. I taste
all that living juices out of leaves,

all that growing growls out of waiting.
There’s nothing like something

slithering in blood, like the hips
of the weather dropped down for rain.

There’s nothing like a stretch of clouds
cushioned on a jagged sky, an uttered

stream run out of a dream. There’s nothing
like a wipe this wet and warm,

a drive driven through
a hundred-mile breath.

Samuel Ugbechie