Demoiselle
Uche Ogbuji


/What’s happenin’ Butterfly? What’s happenin’?/
— Ladybug


Let’s go over this again…

Got people swaying like
Brown Grass. Mud sucking up
against our toes, horns blowing salt
Through our noses.
There’s a flower now.
Red like liquor in a brother’s heart,
Pushing through the joint
Like it’s about to break free.
But that can’t be your lipstick
Cause you wear no lipstick:
You’re a soul flame.

Every bush has its berry
With soft fingers and a long tongue,
Slow, wide open like a Sunday afternoon.
But she doesn’t fool me,
Alcohol all on her breath
Like a ghost in the window
Of an abandoned house.
Her hips don’t tell my hands like yours.
You’re a soul flame.

I know you’re hiding warm coals
Deep in your belly
And I need an oven to dry in—that’s word.
So settle in against my chest—
Don’t mind my wet shirt.
It’s about a quarter to the moon
Ripping Scorpio in two,
And pouring stars on our faces.
I’m open like naked skin on a summer night,

And you’re a soul flame.

Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria, and has lived, among other places, in Egypt, England and the U.S., where he now makes a home near Boulder, Colorado. His poetry has appeared at The Nervous Breakdown, where he is an editor, and Fieralingue. Ogbuji is an avid classicist, student of modern African literature, and hip-hopper.