Back to Issue Twenty-Three.

SONS OF ACHILLES

BY NABILA LOVELACE

If I think like the boy I take into me, then I know why
the blood appears. I am an apprentice in a city named
Kiss the Hands Who Kill

& Achilles is the father. His sons crawl out war
with fully loaded hands. I meet Achilles & the streetlights

hush. Bootleg Jordans grant a tongue for my speechless. Praise
the bootlegger.

//

Outside, the streetlights bend to lend
a shine. The block is hot & the boys

keep coming. I cannot catalogue a thing

he didn’t bore. Even the grass grows
his progeny.

//

Achilles & his sons.              Achilles is his sons.             Where his sons?

                                           A sensual breeze.
                                           A choking. The body
                                           a smite.

//

 


             Achilles, deathless man void moonshine, I cut
my veins & see his name. His sons: rampant, melodic. Sweet

negotiations. Love
the violence that births you. Hate

the chirp of the birds you eat.
             Love me too, father. Love me.

 

 

I TURNED MYSELF INTO MYSELF & WAS JESUS

BY NABILA LOVELACE

From Ego Tripping by Nikki Giovanni

My bones converge to altar / bloated
in bad breathing habits / Bus

a table w/ me, Commandment 1 / Know
the way I shake wool / Get my hair braided

& spend 4 hours in the hands
of another black woman / wrapping each hair round

the other / cause my crown immaculate / while
a man prayed to me / quivering in need

of my looking / divine on a cross / My head
thorn full / Till

a wolf handed
me his whole fur / I handed him

off my head / my hair / I think
that’s what Daddy meant / by reciprocity

an inconvenience of need / that leads me
back to me / I don’t make the rules I am / Once

the deed / in need of repentance / was done
My funeral was

casket open / Buried
mouth open / gold fronts gaping

as to not mistake / the gates of heaven
the only way in / through me

 

 

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Nabila Lovelace is a first-generation Queens native. Her people hail from Trinidad & Nigeria. Sons of Achilles, her debut book of poems, is forthcoming from YesYes Books later this year.

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