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The Bridge Selection

Poems for the Road by Nnorom Azuonye

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THORN
 
We eat meats and noodles at Whetstone Chopstix,
marvelling at how time zips by.
Danielle’s timeline - from late, bump, to teen-mum
seems as brief as a snap of fingers.
Danielle is a bird I worked with, in the past,
she is a negrosexual Irish bundle of laughter.
 
A small-talking waitress mistakes Danielle’s daughter
asleep on my chest as my little girl. It is like a stab,
with a red hot knife between my tightening ribs.
I wish she had never been more wrong, and I roll
My palm over the baby’s cheek, I weep-draw
quick deep breaths. Haunts of infancy oils tease me
and my hurting mind begins to paint pictures of my boy,
a nose, a mouth, ten toes, ten fingers, a smile…
 
A teardrop smudges the ink.
 
Then my penance begins; an elegy to my seed.
I sing about terrifying nights empty and long,
of scanning the sky for one comforting star,
one consoling light; even a man of sin like me
deserves an illusion of redemption.
 
This dirge soundtracks countless nights I stayed
awake, imagining his voice, that little sound
of innocence; victim of the battle of youth,
a thorn pulled from the flesh of my future.
 
Today, my finger winds back flashing neon dials
of my life’s clock, across wet eyes. I wish to God
that I had not nodded to the ice in a white coat
to pull that thorn from my future’s flesh.
 

 

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