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The Lantern

Now, I am as quick as fire. But I do not burn 

through the hazy dawn. I’m the brown crown 

of the match & my love for him is the matchbox. 

When we kiss, I ignite. & everything I touch 

beams. I do not touch things that are capable 

of turning into ashes. I touch anything that 

can absorb light, hold fire & still not burn. 

Like hope. Like memories. Like my father. 

He tells me memorable stories about his life.

Says, he was a lost sheep who could not recognize 

the voice of his shepherd, he wandered 

a wanting. The wilderness, a thorn tearing 

through his flesh. Says, life is all about seeds 

& seasons. So, like Cain, he tilled the cornfield 

with his teeth as if to fashion a wilderness 

into an orchard. Everyday, as darkness began 

I could — like the fire chewing up dry oaks, 

like the fire shoved into the lantern’s white eye. 


Gospel Chinedu

Gospel Chinedu is a Nigerian poet from the Igbo descent. He is a 2021 Starlit Award Winner, 1st Runner Up for the Blurred Genre Contest (Invisible City Lit), 2023, Honorable Mention in the Stephen A. Dibiase Poetry Prize, 2023.


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