Olatunde Osinaike, to relay race

100m

reciting my name / accent non-refundable / feels like imported

goods illegal / i grip / clumsy / damn near nauseous

from collateral / a glass boomerang / trembling / the heat

shuffling / in rich gloom / before the caveat collects / exchange

 

200m

usually the anonymous / annotates my chin / with their razor

sharp cinch / my jawline / a dirty paradox / reigning adopted

from the sky / the clouds coy / before tapered tongues

twist thorough / revealing only / this brown bittersweet / i brave

 

300m

inclusion isn’t retribution / the sweat subsides / softly / no need to thank

a tyro who loves / lukewarm first / puzzling after / the palm’s swift

embrace / maybe the technique / hypnotizes the hell / out of comfort

to walk / into the chaos / like spiders & black boys

 

400m

last night / a native hummed / a negro spiritual / eavesdropping

on my nihilistic / coded prayer / i insist / or vent

as those on air / veil the gist / of prejudice / shameless

so dignified / as if / this is an aviary & i am still / here

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