I tilted the moon
in a dream, & I woke up
to a house empty
of the voice of my mother.

I am not a sure story
-teller; that I am sure of.
my mouth is crooked
& rough, but raw.

all I want to do
with my wretched mouth
is to sing. & maybe that
is enough. & maybe not.

genesis: an opening,
at first a tiny gash in the story
of my life, but as grief does,
the wound festered.

in the cottage of my body,
an animal drags its body
from room to tiny room,
its raw back muralling the walls.

I swear, the dark in my body
will take even God a lifetime.

ERNEST O. ÒGÚNYẸMÍ is a writer and editor from Nigeria. His works have appeared/ are forthcoming in Joyland, Tinderbox, Journal Nine, the Indianapolis Review, Down River Road, Capsule Stories, No Tokens, the West Review, the Dark Magazine, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry III, Agbowó, Isele, and elsewhere. He's the curator of The Fire That Is Dreamed of: The Young African Poets Anthology. He's the winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Young Black Writers, second-place winner in the No Tokens Young Poets' Prize, and a finalist for the 2020 Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets. He is on the editorial board at Palette Poetry, the Masters Review, and Counterclock Journal.