an online literary magazine for extra pungent poetry and prose

Israel Okonji

To One of My Kinfolk

You have become familiar to be choked
on your girlʼs toenails—her command
breaks into your pronoun—her chests
are dangling—all she could see—you
are separating your ivories to let her
know her afterlife could happen now—
all you could see—your index finger
ringing alarms. The last time you parted
with her—you filled her vacuum with
slices of yams—she couldn’t just call any
man a man—but a boy is a boy in her
townʼs adage. Experiment experiments—
you revved an engine & went to Somalia—
you bought yourself a mustard seed to
slip in honey—have you not granted your
lover a shaft of light to swallow up her
cocoon yet? In our place—to tell your loverʼs
parents to fold their ransom back to your torso
is like hunching them over to face a cold war.
But thereʼs an alpha male somewhere that
drinks her tears like palm-water. In her
townʼs adage—a wilderness in the heart of
the chiefs would cry to salvage their
daughters out of their husbandʼs home
seeing it is a porcupineʼs spine. But—
brother—how do you intend to go back to
your neighborʼs house after youʼve said

Israel Okonji (he/him) is a Southern Nigerian artist of poetry, storytelling & music. He is published @ Brittle Paper, BRUISER, midsummer magazine, Wasteland Review—& has work forthcoming in Hiraeth Zine & Querencia Pressʼ anthology. He listens to music ranging from Nas, the Wu-Tang Clan to Chris Brown, Alicia Keys. He hopes to fulfill his dream of collecting records like Craig Kallman. He has a special place for Brit actress Emma Watson & American singer/dancer Normani in his heart. He tweets @izrltrcz.