The Lovers of Modena

Gbenga Adesina

Your hands in the small

place of my bones,

shore of skin

slow furl.

Lord, such delicious


Love’s vast colony of hunger.

The maplines crackle, they run

in my maplewood veins.

I would that you know

what is hidden is what is broken

is what is holy.

The mouth, remember,

is red clay.


rock, weathering

rock, lie here with me

in the dark.

We are the histories

of dust.

I speak to you from my flesh to your flesh:

My loss is a loss with doors.

It opens.

Illustration by Joey Gonnella

Gbenga Adesina is a Nigerian poet and essayist. He received his MFA from New York University, where he was a Goldwater Fellow. His work has been published in Harvard Review, Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, and elsewhere. He won the 2020 Narrative Prize from Narrative magazine.
Originally published:
March 27, 2023


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