I do not keep dairies to save myself anymore,
Or the men I love.
Or love itself.
Here, in the first strikelight of August day, a songbird rests on an
almond branch, and soft with gratitude for the arrival of light, it
bursts into psalms.
From a gyrating branch, I watch
lovers as they make a triumphant entry into
me ―
honey seekers in a deserted apiary ―
then I see them depart in a hurry, like all others before them,
and like the ones who had come before the ones who had come before them,
not wanting to carry the overbearing dead-weight
of an already lost language.
Not wanting to be scarred for the rest of their lives.
Before now, I used to think death was the
nothing every other thing returns to,
but it’s safer, I suppose, to learn by practice. Which is to say,
to shut out the sun from my eyes, and become a hand, cupped
over the ears of a new, distant lover, whispering:
I must warn you, dear august guest,
that my heart is a nest sashaying in the wind.
A literal heart, I mean. And a metaphoric nest.
I must warn you.
For, in all my life, I have been human only nine times.
Then, at the end of my ninth cardiac session, I paddled
away and my canoe has not been sighted ever since.
Soul brother.
Disregard what you see from your window, in the noonday sun.
This house is falling. Failing.
Failing. Falling. Flailing.
Swinging like the fulcrum of a door left ajar, on a day full of wind.
In an orchard of hearts, mine is a pear tree, overridden with


Photo by Giorgi Iremadze on Unsplash

Chisom Okafor
Chisom Okafor, Nigerian poet and clinical nutritionist, lives in Alabama where he is studying for his MFA in Creative Writing, as a Graduate Council Fellow. He has received nominations for the Brunel Prize, the Gerald Kraak Prize, Sillerman First Book Prize, and Pushcart Prize. He has also received support from the Commonwealth Foundation and the Sundress Academy for the Arts. His debut full-length poetry collection is set to be published in Fall 2025 (APBF and University of Nebraska Press). He tweets @chisomokafor16.