"Listen to me. There will be a day when the world will need you most — be alive on that day."
- Michael Wasson.
I don’t disagree that conviction is tattooed with many shards;
both my feet have been bloodied by them. But what I bleed
isn’t the pain of regret,
what I bleed is the bittersweet pain of longing.
I resolve to telling the story of tomorrow to the mirror
each night when the necessary pangs of failure
overshadow the darkness– and
I tell it first thing every morning as
fate uncuffs another dawn. I say
dear boy, you are a master at surviving. I say
dear boy, every fall is a testament of approaching joy.
You see, I have been broken, burnt, spent. I’ve been met
with the strongest invite to hopelessness, and I’m yet to honour it.
Scorn and ridicule and cheerless laughter have greeted me at many
different turns, but I’ve carved too much faith into my heart that there’s
room for nothing else.
Now I no longer see a barricade between conviction and impregnability.
Now I run with bloodied feet, stamping red fiery purpose everywhere these legs touch.
Now my life is set on a course onward to joy—the only dawn I crave.
*Honorable mention: 2023 Valiant Scribe Poetry Competition.
Chisom Charles Nnanna (he/him) is a Nigerian writer with publications in Singapore Unbound, Feral, The B'K, PoetryColumn-NND, Brittle Paper, etc. His writing accolades include Singapore Poetry Contest (3rd place, 2022); Tush Magazine Writing Contest (Co-winner, 2022); Shuzia Poetry Contest (Co-winner, 20 21); and Shape African Health Writing Contest (co-winner, 2022). He was also a top entrant in the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize, 2021; Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, 2020; and Asido Foundation Essay Writing Contest, 2023. He currently writes from Ilorin, Nigeria