Lady by Anthony Okpunor

A sequel to Craziness

Before the moon swells, and a god untangles a knot

at my thighs, and my room smells blue

in summer & mistletoe, my grandmother

sings in my ear the loneliest things.

She means to tell me: the girl in the moon

will sing you something lonelier, you are always

thirsty when you wake, are you not?

She means to say: do you know why the woman in the

red dress sits near a quiet man?

There is a longing between your teeth.

You do not learn to be soft without the eye of the wind.

That is: we burned all our cities to bring us here, when the mouth

said volcano we burned our bodies to call the night a witness.

We said: come be a joker in the spot where our

bodies turn light & song into miracles.

Who can break lust just by surviving the day?

Do you know how much wind bleeds before there is a tongue to call it rain?

You will not ask her name but she will

tell of her body anyway, tell you: you taste like God when ripe,

tell you men are artists but pigs also get horny,

say you smell like burning cities in Singapore.

Yet, the day is almost night &

the girl singing in the moon

has not said a word to you.

Everyone under a disco light is moving like puppets:

she says, do you know why a woman who sits

with her legs crossed is called a ballerina?

In your head all of it is gone: your diary, the wind, the thirst,

the thirst.

The wind is a blur in red, the Cinderella spin-off, echoing

every memory loss:

where did Cupid go?

Who has let the shapeshifter through the curtain?



Anthony Okpunor is a Nigerian poet and artist. He was shortlisted for the 2019 Nigerian Student Poetry Prize. He was also shortlisted for the SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize 2019. He emerged as winner of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (poetry category). He was a finalist for the 2020 Palette Spotlight Poetry Award. He was also longlisted for Palette Poetry’s 2020 Emerging Poet Prize. His works have appeared/forthcoming on online platforms including African Writer, Praxis Magazine, the McNeese Review, Rattle, Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, Roadrunner Review, and elsewhere. He can be reached on Twitter @TonyOkpunor.


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