Kéchi Nne Nomu

Hungry for the life of brief

animals, the life

once of a spotted white

moth, I kept finding them

corpses. Their bodies crushed

just so I misconstrued the meaning

of beauty, wings spread over dirt.

This was a prior life. I was young.

I ran errands, envied short

life cycles & indulged in comparative metamorphosis.

Once, of the ceramic blue

virgin mother built

into the parapet of a nearby parish,

I asked to be morphed quick

by winds lifting my skirt.

In September, the days got perfect

and they got ordinary again. The last sun

pushed fingers through wet trees after rain, through

the country of nests in dark branches.

Abandoned, at the foot of a tree, I found a nest.

The site of a new hatching. I imagined entering this

afterlife, learning rapture:

I knew already the string theories governing the haze

that would settle at dusk over our city by the battlements

where the wars had been fought.

War boats settled in siege. I understood history.

Yet, when I crossed a field returning,

I avoided the scene. All of it.

The dead moths de-winged & unmorphed. The newborn

birds coming alive in their nests and mortal.

Kéchi Nne Nomu is a 2022 Narrative Magazine Poetry Contest finalist. Her work has appeared in The Sun Magazine, Narrative Magazine, Boston Review and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in poetry from NYU and teaches at the University of Virginia.
Originally published:
March 4, 2024


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