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In Pursuit of the Things that Don’t Demand my Demise, a Poem by Chisom Charles Nnanna*

I’m not ungrateful to the days the sun was darker than

the gathering of a thousand nights, and the nights

the moon was as timid as a dying

candle. (after all, metal must endure fire to become something more.)

But for tonight,

for tonight, let me boast of

the effort of this struggling wax–

And just as soon as the night peels away,

let me carry dawn on

my tongue and sing like the morning bird.

In a former poem I numbered my breath and concluded they

were merely stones congregating to mark

my grave. But I’m still here.

I’m still here. Oh universe, in this poem I’m holding

a pitchfork and tearing through the bleakness looking for abandoned

rays of daybreak.

I know the absence of joy

because I had tasted joy.

So now I return to

that time before I lost my taste bud, that

time before I misplaced

the craving to pursue the things that

don’t demand my demise.


*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.


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