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We had never seen naked men do what we did.

He’d come to my house, the sun bright on his small body.

In the kitchen, iyemi stirred the soup. From the cracked walls,

Lizards nodded away the world’s secrets.

I winked at him in sheer joy.

In the farm, we stripped naked, our bodies small gifts of innocence.

The birds, thousands of them mocked us with their hymns, &

The sky so clear if we peered hard, we’d see our reflections

in it. While he bore the hole, narrow as an escape, I knit

a wire onto the tip of a fresh branch. This was our second

trap in a month. All the animals were wise. To survive, we’re told,

Animals kill animals. For fun, we lay traps, pray the animals

into them. Thinking of it now, the memory mocks everything:

The sun glittering on my friend’s spinal cord

as he dug, my skin a wet tub, our little penises swinging

as we worked. I marvel at how the nudity of man can mean luck,

not shame, not sex; but luck, innocence, & meager desire.

We had never seen naked men do what we did but we did it.



Nome Emeka Patrick is a blxck bxy; graduate of English language and Literature. His works have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Poet Lore, Puerto Del Sol, The Fiddlehead, Beloit Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee, he is super shy, but say hi on Twitter: @paht_rihk.
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