The Casualties                                                                                                   —Precious Arinze

bodies are leathery coffins
every mother gives birth to a funeral
we are adorned with layers of ready to rot flesh
a metropolis of bones waiting to be conquered
invaded by age
we were intended for decay
clumps of matter bound to earth and ash
that first breath is a sullied promise
carried in body parts
soon to be split open like egg shells
it was never meant to hold us together
to keep us here any longer than we are

what do men become after that first harvest
of milk teeth?
do you remember the first time you felt
your child body leaving you behind?
did you have a name for it then?
the unexpected can be called a miracle
Adedapo a nomenclature for something
wedged between two crowns
lending itself to royalty
names are the hardest things to lose

and we are filling our bodies with pain
and songs that can hold all our fractures
and still stay in tune
our mothers did not give birth to nuclear warheads
for us to be overcome by gunshot wounds
every year this battle of growing rages
we are getting closer to coming home
the empty spaces in ourselves are getting lived in
we are filling these coffins with the casualties
it took to get there
we do not become what we do not live
the unexpected can be called a miracle
and we have become the unexpected

Precious Arinze

Precious Arinze is a Nigerian poet, freelance writer and undergraduate student of Law at the University of Benin. She aspires to have a professional career that exclusively involves eating, someday. Her work has appeared in Mikrokosmos, Kalahari Review and Brittle Paper.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2017