poetry
autumn/winter 2018

Unfenced

by Naza Amaeze Okoli

it’s been days, walking past

these sad, pretty lawns
same words to my neighbor:
“I live there, near the dead end.”

but his dogs don’t hear

 

across the hill-house,
there’re dead souls on my left
and there’s night beside us, listening to our laughs wondering at my husky voice
as I pronounce America:

(the slow-paced one
of cars that wait from miles away
to stare as I walk across the white lines)

and it’s been many months since –
of beating out the horror from the night,
laying them in the fire
those winter nights, as we watch our skins glisten in the fire

and there’re quick smiles in the street
my students tell me there’re types:
in the time between the eyes and the widening of the lips

and there’s the stranger still, by the corner

“do you smoke?”
I can’t tell why he asks 

Naza Amaeze Okoli is a PhD student at the University of Mississippi’s Department of English. He is Editor-at-large at AfricanWriter.com, and co-editor of the anthology, Footmarks: Poems on One Hundred Years of Nigeria’s Nationhood. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi. 

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