Even My Darling Comes
Back To Me

I wrote the poem at a difficult period when I felt this sudden longing for fatherly love. It was only a calm wish—the way a child makes his way through a crowd in search of his father. Somehow, I wanted to be that kid. In this poem, I had to come to the realization that as humans we do not always get others to be exactly like we desire. But that we can, at least with a brief moment of forgiveness (and maybe understanding), mold each one of those desires into existence. Here, I salved the wounds. I chose love, even when it was hardest to do so.

“I, too, write love poems.” —Koleka Putuma

In this poem, there is no grief,
no brushfire,
not one bloodstain I will not bleach.

Was it not L-Abunassar that said,
as a matter of fact,
fact has no matter. I mean, I am

the brightness in my father’s eyes.
We walk
barefoot through sand dunes, his

face incandescent & yellowed out.
& this is love,
the way it nudges him into light,

lifts him backwards into the years
smooth as a plum,
where his child was still his child.

They say, breathing is the first
attempt to life
& so is love. This I know: I was

born harmless. Everything ravenous
came afterwards,
came when our silence became

a leech, became the wide mouth
of a gun.
I mean, there is something that

keeps washing into the sink.
I mean,
he got drunk most of the night & I lost

my voice where I sobbed till dawn.
I mean, this is
a love poem anyways. So I take

with me what I want to take. & yes,
I choose this.
I choose to look into the crack &
find it unsplit.

Chiwenite Onyekwelu is a Nigerian poet and essayist. His poetry appears in Rough Cut, America Magazine, Isele, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2021 New York Encounter Poetry Contest, winner of the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, as well as runner-up for the Foley Poetry Prize 2020. He serves as Associate Editor at the School of Pharmacy Agulu, where he’s an undergraduate.