Precious Arinze

I Dreamt I Saw Two Black Girls Kissing in Church

& i heard a door inside my chest heave open 
it sounded like a storm returning 
to nurse green the dryness 
the drought had abandoned here 
& this is the kind of narrative we will not need 
to soften later 
& i guess it is easier to stay alive 
when you are not holding an accusation 
that always comes unbidden 
carrying erotemes that only crave answers 
of burning flesh 
& when you are free to swallow a mouthful 
of whomever your body takes home 
to go looking for something sweet 
and soft to sink your teeth into 
& not wake up with bruises 
where your name should be 
maybe this communion of ungendered bodies 
is what it means to say grace 
& this is something no baptism can free us from 
but the girls are worshipping each other’s hands 
they are going home and taking me with them 
& outside 
a statue of Jesus is holding out his arms


Precious Arinze is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and author of the chapbook The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us So Far, selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for the New-Generation African Poets Series (African Poetry Book Fund), 2021. Precious Arinze is a Poetry Editor for OlongoAfrica and a Poetry Reader at Up The Staircase Quarterly. Their works have appeared in Brittle Paper, Lolwe, Arts and Africa, Agbowo, The Republic Journal, Boston Review, Electric Literature, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Exposition Review, and Berlin Quarterly, among others. Author photo by Dandelion Eghosa.