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our bloom game too strong / altar stays red candle cinnamon-lit
sweet flicker cracking into prance / stays portal door warmed ajar
spell-flung darkward / would but we so black we lightless
no mirrors / so touchsoundfood our cedar smoke drumkicks
the body back to gospel / drumsticks the body smacked in mouthfuls
the room perfumes with our funkbrightwild / would but our skin yams
plush mothers cackling juice dripping / and this just our first slow branch
ascending / would but neighbors to dine and unstranger / rootbind into kin
a nation of misalphaed wolf carcass to climb through / would hex their new head
that neverman / rot reeking the soil / but who’d feed these seeds
that wet orange howl just compost slime returning returning
the sky glows red candle / air soots and sludges darkward / still
our funkbrightwild / block by block our tangling tangling
we would hex the damned born-dead but billions still alive / cored and alive
threshed concave and still sweet flickers / would but who needs these feasts?
Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven, selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the 2021 Academy of American Poets First Book Award. Their poems and essays appear in The Rumpus, Guernica, Catapult, Best New Poets 2019, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2 and elsewhere. A cultural strategist with Forward Together, Kemi builds narrative power with writers and artists for social justice. They live in Chicago.
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