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Image by Adias623 via Flickr. Caption: Sunset in Brooklyn.

See the Eastern Bluebirds,

that have known far wintering grounds.

Their orange-breasted dance and alert posture

in the trees with fruits.

The Yellow orchids that spring at the base of these trees,

an applause of colors to the birds, that they find a way

to stay alive.

It’s May, and I, too, have found a way

to stay alive.

The birds, we know, are kind

and sometimes on their long journeys, they hurt

one another. Yet they fly in formation.

What pulls one hurt bird to the other? Affection?

Or some ancient gravity older than the body sinned against.

As though there is an electric vow between them

that none of them would be allowed to fall.

I forgive those who hurt me.

I forgive myself.

What is good in me, I offer to the blue tailed thrushes

since I am, like them, a sea crossing child.

Their human knowing cry, almost love chorus.

My dead are still dead

But suddenly life

surrounds me.

 

 

About the Author:

Gbenga Adesina co-won the 2016 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. His poem, “How To Paint A Girl” was selected by Mathew Zapruder for its “clarity of observation and empathetic insight into the suffering of another” for the New York Times. His poetry manuscript, Holy Bodies, was a finalist for the 2017 Sillerman First Book Prize. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. He has received scholarships and residencies from Fine Arts Work Centre, Provincetown, and The Open Society Foundation in Goree Island, Senegal. His poetry chapbook, Painter of Water, was published by APBF and Akashic Books, New York in a series edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Brittle Paper, Vinyl, Ploughshares and elsewhere.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, academic, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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