Poetry: A Shorter Note On My Coming Out by Chisom Okafor
Chisom Okafor, who we’ve been admiring for a while now, delivers a dark and moving portrait of a specific and not unfamiliar moment: “A shorter Note On My Coming Out.” Chisom speaks with such ease through his untouched dark, his beginnings and endings marked with flames, his devastating aphorisms—a long, illustrious road ahead for this poet.
A Shorter Note On My Coming Out
Not even these flickering lights
could hide the hunger in her open palms
angling towards mine from a distance;
fingers arrowing into an untouched dark.
So you love a man now, she says.
Not even mine, as I thrust a bottle of Tequila into them,
as I make her soak up her own life
in a mound of silence.
Here is a toast to the young horses burning in your tongue.
Here lie the remains of us, sautéed and spread in the dark as seedlings
scattered in a barren cornfield.
Pray the police don’t catch you making love to a man, she says.
But sometimes, all you need in lieu of survival
is a change of names, then to keep
indifference as a disused whiskey glass
at a deserted pub.
You’ll soon find the ugliest scar
to be a constant circumvention
of things whose beginnings and endings are marked with flames.
Chisom Okafor, Poet and Nutritionist, was shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Award for Poetry in 2018 and the Gerald Kraak Prize in 2019. His works have been published or are forthcoming in Praire Schooner, the Indian Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, Rattle, Palette Poetry, The 2019 Gerald Kraak Anthology (The Heart of the Matter), Kikwetu, The Rising Phoenix Review, The Single Story Foundation Journal, Praxis, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Brittle Paper and elsewhere. He is currently co-editing 20:35 Africa, an anthology of contemporary poetry.