Light, but It Was An Exit Wound
A Fictional Love Poem
The moment they asked for
the desolation to be whittled
into something beautiful, they knew
it was the opening of a new mouth.
With new teeth. A new hunger.
Because it was here first, gloom belongs.
What’s an answered prayer? Sudden rain.
And what remains after the exhale?
A forlorn fingerprint in the mud.
The angst that lives under the amen.
Once, they were given a lover. Thunder crackled
beneath skin, and yes, they learned what
prayer was: when they arranged their best words
like the red petals of a poppy. Each word,
a hungry child in search of moisture,
knowing nothing of past or future.
It was the child they loved. No, the rain.
No, the flower. Listen: in the beginning,
dark. Then the wish. That ancient pulling of want.
Let there be light. And there was
light, but it was an exit wound.
To you I pray for the smallest thing:
A lesson in the keeping of breath--
A bath in cold freshwater, golden grass
In the distance, the naked singing of birds
Until evening. I lovely my bones before you
Come in the room with your dark box of jewels
For me. I invent wings for the ants
So we can be alone—you, so delicate
A brute, and I, Circe of Aiaia,
Prodigal daughter of the sun. I enchant you:
Stay with me, husband. I desire you to
Never swim home—the sea glass fascinates
You to a high stupor, you forget the world
For my sake. I have power, I have craving:
I am weak. I felt so human while you read
The map—I unspooled like cheap, blue thread.
Logan February is a Nigerian poet and the Associate Director of Winter Tangerine’s Dovesong Labs. They and their work have been featured recently in Dazed, The Guardian Life, Lambda Literary, Washington Square Review, Africa In Dialogue, and more. They are the author of Mannequin in The Nude (PANK Books, 2019) and two chapbooks. You can find them at loganfebruary.com