America grows thicker with us – Michigan Quarterly Review

America grows thicker with us

Published in Spring 2024 Online Folio

Over cold cola and Jollof, my new best friend, a handsome Fula in my dorm, remembers back


a plane set ablaze from faulty machinery.

Too cheap, he had chosen the bus and missed the inferno. A classmate

burned to bone.

At the embassy window, my number called,                              


cast against bullet-proof pane.


the consul officer says, beaming from his carefully

considered act of benevolence.

My crossed fingers exhaled, woozy –

I know to feel sorry for the family behind me. The baby, plump as mangoes, coos

pulls her father’s hat down his face.

He returns it to its first


My friend opens the blinds then refills my drink. Memory thins in the half-eaten night. Thrums

only when it shouldn’t: graduation. first apartment. first raise.

In our cups of sweet carbon

atoms are wide awake, numbered, disorderly

we dissolve                                                                                        



laced with guilt

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.

Liz Femi is a Nigerian American writer, actor, and NAACP Theater Award Nominee for her solo play, Take Me to the Poorhouse. A recipient of Writeability’s Right to Write Award, she has work published in Good River ReviewWild Roof JournalStone Poetry QuarterlyTwo Thirds NorthWest Trade Review, and elsewhere. She is based in Los Angeles and Atlanta and is a 2024 Pushcart winner. 

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