- Tryna Get Right with God
She crawls around in others' emotions all day, trying them on and sobbing.
She sits in a room with the radio going, ships sinking, unnatural disasters, form over content—speak it.
They say, "the black body," and she can smell the burnt basement bulb swinging on its cord, a black girl in a blue dress lying in a pile of rust-colored leaves, George Washington's wide-toothed Igbo grin.
At 8:15 pm she will write, The conditions for peace are already present.
She can remember sharing a desk in grade school with a white boy who spoke incessantly, like he might explode if he didn't. She can remember stabbing him in the face with the point of her pencil. She would never do anything like that now.
Someone's bending back the finger on the hand of a very small child who refuses to cry.
False flowers, she will say to her son when he calls, you ever heard of anything more offensive?
She believes that the mushroom that bloomed at the base of her pot of devil's ivy is a miracle.
At 7:30 am she will write, DO NOT COVET. [End Page 59]
There is a notebook full of torn recipes from soup can labels and advice from talk shows: free yourself through validation. Yes, I can hear you screaming hips.
She will tune in to the sounds of her neighbors relaxing into their Saturday.
She holds the blunt end of a knife toward the yolk of an avocado. Light pours into the room like a slowly forming idea. Today, she exists in the most sensible corner of a dream. She can't remember who she's wearing. [End Page 60]
Chioma Urama's work has been published in Pleiades, Blackbird, Paper Darts, and the Normal School and is forthcoming in the Southern Humanities Review. She received the Fresh Shaw Fiction Prize and an honorable mention in the Lindenwood Review Lyric Essay Contest. Urama is a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship alumna and a graduate of the University of Miami mfa program where she was a Michener Fellow. She teaches creative writing and composition at the University of New Orleans.