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Nnadi Samuel

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A. in English & Literature from the University of Benin. Author of 'Nature Knows a Little about Slave Trade' selected by Tate N. Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). A 3x Best of the Net, and 7x Pushcart Nominee.

In Praise of Diphthong

"I would love to live like a river flow, carried by the surprise 

of its own unfolding" - John O'Donohue


Blading the salmon to near-perfection;

a truck burrows the wasteland.

keratin leftover blooming from the throat of a stream.

the weight of my verbalizing, boomeranged everywhere across border.


I score bloodied notes,

knife the melody into a tree—wet with the accent of dusk.

I dig for earth's soft rhythm.


in my languaging, I imitate smoke,

lay still as iridescence licks a spot to whitening.


song spill out of the cloud's cracked jaw.

I watch as hail spoils into green.

ice, echoing against the erasure of wet frost.


I'm ghosted with vanishing, the way blizzards melt into wreckage—

like buttercream, placed in the gullet of a cloud.


time distill in gentle stroke.

a flooding assembles & break loose.

the small stream of drowning, writhing uncontrollably.


each turbulence, fashioning a pathway to drive a point home.


the forecast don't tell apart drizzle from a heavy downpour.

valleys bend to accommodate thunderstorm


& in that brief moment, the stream edge takes the shape of a margin.

liquid, slaving in straight diction.

dry parchedness gaslighting rain.


everything else stays static,

but the arrest of blood current—

slackening the heartbeat of water.

the night widens.

brown mollusk lick up stalks needling the ground's patchwork.

knife-pricked, ache unzips my back.


I roast a salmon dry, watch how pale skin blacken into meal,

as smoke shrink the ruffled branch.


the sun tan bare leaves to yellowing,

fashion out flame from the rust.


when I stick out my tongue, 

drove of morpheme rents the air apart:

a wonder peculiar to me—in praise of diphthong.


at a slaughterhouse, I scour the butcher slab, looking for blood facts.

found amidst intestines—a festival of red:

the littered endlessness rivered into a pothole.


in my quest for speech, I hit my chest audibly.

the bone-stuck vowel—stuck in my lung.

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