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A Glossary of Artillery Terms

Nnadi Samuel

Bangladesh tenderizes our immigrant flesh into the havoc of a rifle,  

                                                            stale on a woman’s lip.  

language pulls me to where a female rips her lungs— dragging  


                             black alphabet that mourns her passing away. 

she mouthwashes an adjective, trims her nail till its red tip takes 

                             the form of a loud verb. to cherish where I’m 


is to add guns to our part of speech, It is to be at peace with the  

                             waltzing hotness of a missile. the cloud— a white  

sheet, pierced by a loaded projectile that isn’t firework. 

                             I wish to account for this place, & not lose my tongue  

to a death-plague that shapes like this  

country— stabbed onto a pie chart. this year, violence preserved  


delicate life. In the next, I want to have more crime in my name. 

                              Pakistan’s temper veining through my wrist. 

I love it for its other half mirroring my loss. 

                              lady, dulling her skin to die at her own pace:  

too bright to keep up with this town. each darkness finds me falling 

                              in love with this body alive, but for a while.  


rib cage of females I’ve known crosshatching as countries at loggerheads. 

                              you cherish where I’m from by loving it sideways,  

without the tip of a gun pointing at your heartbeat. in our palm: a warfare.  

                              in our thoughts: a woman derailing a stray bullet with  



prayer beads. 

the way she pleads “ 

the blood”, as though we haven’t shed more of that lately, 

                              as if this red-faced object isn’t me bullet bright, dashing my 

loin to the  

                              ground— if that’s the softest way to call this body quit. I wish  

to amplify my  

bones, to make a loud statement. I’m wounded by the consonance of ‘Iowa’ mud- 

                               breaking through my lips, as a cannon hawking a well-dressed  

echo. I sustain the entirety of grammar in a verse looted at gunpoint. you survive  

this country only by dodging the voiced 

                               bilabial plosive— that goes  


 everywhere your feet touches. 

Photo credit: Bazeel Photography 2022

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, NativeSkin lit Magazine, Quarterly West, FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, The Capilano Review, Carte Blanche, Dgëku, The Elephant Magazine and elsewhere. Winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021(University of Louisville). He is the author of Reopening of Wounds and Subject Lessons (forthcoming). He tweets @Samuelsamba10.