Tower of Owls, by Nwuguru Chidiebere Sullivan

      The owls in the vault of your mouth confess 
their grieving silence to the chapel of the dead
     when a tarantula uplifts a ruined man
& washes him clean of every ectopic morpheme

                   refusing to ripen into a wet
               independent clause outside the night’s
               Rudely tucked into
                    your voice box, the owls brawl

     for harmonious hoots with the 
choir of the living. The loneliness
     of the night demands a song, & someone
must switch on the funeral music box— you rise to claim it.

                    Here, you are defiant to the register of death,
                & it doesn’t scare you with how fluently 
                   you depart from its rows in different names.
               The only thing that bothers you is the heathens

     this bazaar of owls into cold mouths. Here, there is
no coffin to contain the knights of the ungodly,
     no grave to hold the grieving wraiths, only a generous mouth
gathering hoots into classical songs until a community
     of the wounded spirits sleeps into limbo.

Nwuguru Chidiebere Sullivan (he/him/his) is a speculative writer of Izzi, Abakaliki ancestry; a Medical Laboratory Science student whose works have been nominated for the Forward Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best of The Net Award. He was the winner of the 2021 Write About Now’s Cookout Literary Prize, a first runner-up in 2022 EOPP. He has works published or forthcoming at Strange Horizons, Ink Sweat & Tears, Augur Mag, Sand Journal, Mudroom Mag, Bracken Mag, Kernel Magazine, Fieldnotes Journal, The Shore Poetry, Lammergeier Mag, The Renard Press, The Deadlands, Absynthe Mag, No Contact Mag, The Fourth River, and elsewhere. He is fond of his poorly-lit room from where he tweets @wordpottersull1. When he is not penning poetry, he is busy debugging Python codes as a Data Science student.

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