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after Sleep Token

Even the nihilism
that managed to keep

me alive has remembered
its purpose. Whatever

held me together, kept
me bridled, has fled.

The stars drag themselves
out from my body

& leave a hole, pouring.
There, I dwell in my red.

The blood wells into
a well of blood. There,

in the pool, I unspool.
Emptied. I have no will

to gather what has left
me, what is left of me.

Instead, I crawl,
half-bone, half-bruise,

to the waterbody.
Let the sea rejuvenate.

Let the blue light wash
away the blood. So I

jettison, name the water
Jordan, in the belief

that whatever is named
will obey its name. But

like everything born of
the world, it disappoints

me, lusts after me.
The disillusionment—

all the water seeks is
to swallow weight,

to drown whatever
it holds in its throat.

Tell me, what miracle,
what good do I not

deserve? Before you
abandon me, last shard

of light, witness me.
Am I not beautiful

enough for joy? Lift me.
Let me rise, ascend

the ruins of this place.
Place me above

the carnivorous sea.
See, seawater moving

with teeth. See—
water rising up to my

teeth. I will not let you
let me be buried here.

I refuse to be quieted
by what quiets my thirst.

I know I am nothing
to the vast world, that

if I vanish, the hills
won’t fall to their knees.

Only what is cherished
will be mourned for.

The leaf crumples from
the oak, & the branch

forgets, replaces it.
My seeping star. Look

back as you crawl out.
If you do not come

for me, I will become
the blue. I will open up

my mouth & swallow
the entire sea.

Samuel A. Adeyemi is a poetry editor at Afro Literary Magazine. A Best of the Net Nominee and Pushcart Nominee, he is the winner of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2021. His works have appeared—or are forthcoming—in Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, 580 Split, Agbowó, Brittle Paper, Jalada, and elsewhere.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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