One Poem by Nnadi Samuel


amidst the thickets of reef lexicon
stems a portion of my sex, trapped with naming.
chased far beyond language, for wearing “Trans” in it’s completeness.
a leg that is no leg, burdening my weight
as if a breach on zephyr’s lawful caressing—
how the air keeps mistaking the workings of my fragile pronouns:

(she/they), till I’m sistered into the belief of genetic transplant,
where being boy  is only a consciousness, 
and girl — a verb I do not partake in.
but bear her inadequacy on each ties of my short flesh: proof I’m an uprising.
a handmade riot, cold-blooded at it.
skin-thorny by surprise or vex.
in the blank, I meet void with void
where emptiness sits sparsely like a plot of land.
a part of me keeps roaming between language & leash.

I— aftermath of the unloved.
I kneel into this trauma: a sarcophagus, sampled after appeal.
                                 oblige me this feline request?

sometimes, I imagine how I’d show up on judgement day
neck deep in hellish “trans.


Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published/forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, Blood Orange Review, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Gutter Magazine, Agbowo, The Blue Route Magazine, The Cordite Poetry Review, Gordon Square Review, Rough Cut Press, Trampset, The Elephant Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Liquid Imagination, & elsewhere. Winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021(University of Louisville), Lakefly Poetry Contest 2021 (Wisconsin), and the Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020. He got an honorable mention for the 2021 Betty L. Yu and Jin C.Yu Creative Writing Prize (College Category). He is the author of Reopening of Wounds & Subject Lessons (forthcoming). He reads for U-Right Magazine. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.