Boy in the Bubble

After Alec Benjamin 

by Olumide Manuel

The hip of this fellowship is red 

reclining warmth           this methanol

maims my blue anxiety like the sunset

spooning the 6:48pm to a shade of night

that shimmers down my broken face‚ÄĒ

  wearing the sunset as an aurora           of bruises

back home                      my mother saw me and

folded me for a tendering              my glee did not

diminish                        I             love to think

about the humour of pummeling an epithelium

to red softness¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ‚ÄĒsinewing

its tightness against a blink of adrenaline‚ÄĒ

panting with raised fist            shirts torn

bully boys doing crude violence because they know

no better‚ÄĒ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†my father who was more worried

about who carried more bloody stars

saw how well I shine with my broken nos           nodded

& it felt like I stormed through a manning-up rite already

‚ÄĒmy head¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†a Jupiter with an atmosphere of ruptured

bubbles           the lesions like its many moons


Olumide Manuel, NGP IX, is a writer, a biology teacher and an environmentalist. He is a nominee of the Pushcart Prize, and the winner of Aké Climate Change Poetry Prize 2022. His works have been published on Magma Poetry, Trampset, Uncanny Magazine, Agbowó Magazine, Up The Staircase Quarterly, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere.