Nnadi Samuel :: “Someday, I identify as a Prairie”

Glory be to the improper plot: this acre of hand tilled hibiscus 
& the dying raven that slants midway, in collapsed grace.
I am thankful for everything that lays chaotic. jagged landmass. 
raked mess of depression, inversely proportional to climate change—
the way I discolor in summer. measuring tape laid to waste because, 
this is a farm dispute where everyone wants to outcount the other.
when Ma questions me on how I’d love to manage my existence, 
I tell her I wish to identify as a desert, barren with opportunity. 
ridges laid haphazardly—I find my loin tumbleweeding from its root.
the shower head, gone haywire. all of my dirty-washings, heaping in 
the ugly fold of a mountain. It’s barely summer & I have bled past two moons, 
dressed my blood, midair—hacking at the tough ground that spoils into green. 
hoping, my grief looks gorgeous in the face of harm. & say it doesn’t, it still would
remain mine to keep. sorrow knew me in the early hours of my birth. here, look how I 
wear the stench. even rain leaves petrichor as aftertaste, in the mouth of the world. 
in the chewed minute, I observe night waste in plastic silence. branches shedding from 
their trunk. cloth, roasting in the unforgiving heat of summer. all creature here adores 
pain. It is one way to worship how we make something of it. even the blank page 
adores anguish. still, I choose joy. choose to wrap my head in the moment, scream a
purple song, mow the lawn at the balcony. I joked around the blisters in my palm. 
thank the edges for being jagged & improper, thank the blade’s music for making a 
mohawk of the grasses & the past that is a bunch of weed—ready for a haircut.
I hope to make sense of my future someday. as of now, I identify as a prairie.

Originally published in Strange Horizons.


Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. Author of Nature knows a little about Slave Trade, selected by Tate.N.Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). He is a 3x Best of the Net, and 7x Pushcart Nominee. He won the 2022 Angela C Mankiewicz Poetry Contest, River Heron Editor’s Prize 2022, Bronze prize for the Creative Future Writer’s Award 2022, UK London, and recently won the Virginia Tech Center for Refugee, Migrants & Displacement Studies Annual Award, 2023He tweets @Samuelsamba10.