wild persimmons – Michigan Quarterly Review

wild persimmons

Published in Spring 2024 Online Folio

the first time we heard kwashiorkor,

it was at an overdue panel hearing,

descriptions of a ravenous body turning on itself, —a critical living condition,

earnest thanks for another meal consisting of cassava and its steamed leaves.

the second time, it was as a dated slur

directed towards the standoffish stranger in our midst,  

deficiency as stock for nightmares,

unreal images of bloused bellies and legs blown out of proportion.

the other times, it was a call for protective coverings, flowing gowns, 

lest they point at our bodies, our bellies, laugh, declare that nothing has changed, 

our thin yellow skins as if dumped in hot water,

wild persimmons unprepared for scalding.

This piece is from our Spring 2024 African Writing Online Folio, an online-exclusive extension of our special issue, “African Writing: A Partial Cartography of Provocations,” guest edited by Chris Abani. You can read more from our Spring 2024 issue, available for purchase in print and digital forms here.

Chiagoziem Jideofor is Igbo and Queer. Her poems have appeared or are scheduled to appear in PoetryReunion: The Dallas ReviewObsidianANMLYthe minnesota reviewberlin litYaba Left ReviewPassengers JournalSuperstition ReviewRigorousSpectrum Literary JournalUntitled: VoicesVersification, and elsewhere.

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