I. Night Gods at Feast
After Wendy Xu’s Several Altitudes of Not Talking

a sign here

Sell your dead
Invert the batteries.

this is, of course, an error. mine
or the sign maker’s.

our headlights
in lieu of distance, travel
the length of eyes.      anoint the sheen
              of a gate.
we approach

at this uncontrollable hour
night gods at feast;

local beer and pink-bodied chickens held in a spit:
the world is a puzzle of needs

and I too have lived long enough to hear a man wonder
if fewer people should name daughters
Leah at birth…
drunk, we dream up a dead
revolutionary’s face, like pulling wrecked ships
from nothing.

later, we let go of this
in exchange for the lightness that finds us
standing in front of a window.

faces pressed against rails,
we watch rain fall
again, a thousand translucent feet.
and give praise to walls
that grow new
              algae by morning and rivers
              that keep swelling
              with plankton.

II. I Have Only Ever Loved Your House

It is true. I carry in me an anchor
Only the easily lost will understand this need to imagine shelter as

      i.         encroachment
      ii.        everywhere

Even a falling house
Holds laughter

& its wilting flowers in tragic vases.
A child is born flesh, another bled into the mesh on its mother’s body.

All of these, anchoring.

And what if it never ends?

This yellowing rope you are made of
Drawing its line through the sand of your days.

A place here,
Where the grass has begun its quiet recession,
Where I try so hard to explain absence as a kind of sag.

You’ll know it by the invisible scar a rainbow marks
With its quiet coming and going, I say &

It is true. We become too preoccupied with our forms as possible angels,
Living for years without something as necessary
As the sound of birds breaking the skin of daylight.

Departure, a gift made with hands we don’t remember.
But, here, listen to hear again the silence of a house
With the people we love silent too inside it.
Even if this, even this, is fleeting.

Kechi Nomu lives in Lagos. Her writing has been accepted by Ploughshares, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Rialto, Interrupture, HOLAAfrica, Enkare Review, openDemocracy and elsewhere. She is the author of Acts of Crucifixion (Akashic Books and APBF: 2018) and We Hold the World Briefly as It Moves (Invisible Borders: 2019). Find her tweeting @kemnomu and archive-making @heretic.eye.