four poems
by Esther Omole
gender unsolidified (I gender, I gender not)
Knots of skin we wear at the waist
We wear on our faces for legibility,
So that seeing be privileged over all
Other kinds of consumption. 
As for me? I will root around,
Hook a finger like a sculptor into mass
Of pounded rock. Press my mouth wide
To the earth’s ribcage and listen
For the moan, like a fault to ajar
New archaeologies. How can a spirit
All quiver and opacity, blink
Like a flame into flesh? Is it not
The uncontained that taught
Us gravity? When I approach
Mirrors I ask not for confirmations
But skins that shift and squeal 
Like water boiling into steam.
I swirl wet paint onto a tacky brush,
Residue built from countless dips
Into congealed and sharp-scented solutions.
An amber hand glimmers its life to me
On a canvas otherwise so stark-white,
all other colors are blemish-like–
An addition. I grind the hard bristles
Against the oil-sheened knuckles,
Slipping gently into the curtain-soft
Embalmed reality. I am hot salve
Hueing, tumbling out the dendritic
Currents churning the blood
Of my mind into earth-dark
Flesh on a dream-dripped face made
Non-black, as though the color isn’t inevitable.
after senga nengudi, inside/outside
I want back  in     felled like an angel or antichrist a sag bags slumped with
sand smelling of footsteps             measuring time     a pillar of  brick        with an orifice  
spilling smoke  like follicles  like a   thicket of leaf               a fruit becomes a husk  the
 turbid   gleam of milk             lips   not thirsty    but longing   nonetheless  moan    
like a house           wire framed willowy        windows      ajar and waking to storm       
to near-black like  a dying sky   a birthing sky        the stratospheric womb        the 
infinite crawlspace  tongues cluck in the trees   and oranges line my path     as I eat          the 
clouds coo        rain swirls and skips ahead of me      the ground is blackening         beckoning with 
moisture      I sink because I was made to          because the skin is soft         trembling     
split to breaking        it yawns my body in I slither down   this honeysuckle muscle        to a 
time when earth           was teething its untouched matter                    a magma-soft placenta   
a fallopian tight rope       a bleat of infancy a sap-rich salve for                                                             
an irrevocable life

Black girl anomalous
a·nom·a·lous - deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected.

Baby, omo mi, stands on sundry
Standards, fends off numerical gnats
From the loaf of her breasts,
Every opening on her
A crystal paved cavern. It seems
Every knowing beast comes
Here to roost in silence.
When they’ve had
Their fill, fog swells
In her pupils, her eyes take
a dormant glint, neutron
stars in an echo chamber
of galactic gasping. She,
like a kindling, winks and is
surely alive.

Black girl ominous
om·i·nous - giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; threatening; inauspicious.

All the chains colliding to earth
Are sonorous with dread until
God emerges like a tongue from her
Cloud. She follows the golden rain
Of interlocked metals, chanting
With the storm of souls erupting
Like smoke from disaster. Sun
Splatters cataclysmic light
On the world as it bounces
From link to link, and all who
Gaze upon it fear blindness
Tears stinging swarthy cheeks
like burns.

Black               us
us - 1. used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself and one or more other people as the object of a verb or preposition. 2. INFORMAL  - me.

You missed the way
Abject tastes on the
Tongue of the misnomered,
But I’ll inform you—
Waiting beneath an ice
Cold slab of concrete
Like a suffocated seed
Or a pair of unblinking
Eyes, organisms are
Expressing and gently
Dragging their souls
Away from the used
Flesh. Split the slab
And let what pummels
Toward your gaze
Teach you, teach the others.

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