Ann Arbor Review


Alan Britt
Shutta Crum
Jumoke Verissimo
Las Slomovits
Richard Kurtz
Lyn Lifshin
Duane Locke
Serena Wilcox
Jerry Blanton
Dami Ajayi
Odimegwu Onwumere
Joanie Freeman
Dike Okoro
Amit Parmessur
Paul B. Roth
Divya Rajan
Kim Keith
Fred Wolven
C. Derick Vann
Al Ortolani
Steve Barfield
Jim Davis
Chris Lord
Jennifer Burd
Will Swanson
Isabel Kestner

Lisa Schmidt
Running Cub
Tolu Ogunlesi



On this high school blackboard
love belongs to the edges, the
lifeless spaces skirted by the dusters

It is an unsociable science, unfit
to mingle with textbooked shapes & theorems
(each clothed in chalk, buzzing smugly)

But occasionally love will come alive
in a teacher's words
to a classroom full yet empty

(because its students are united
in dreams of faceless lovers, singing flowers,
& photoshopped beaches):

"...has this distinguishing characteristic:
its ability to calm a petulant weather
without effort, is equivalent

only to the power of the sky
to clear its own black throat
without endangering a fragile world..."

The students will soon learn
that it's a bit more complicated than that;
that love, when alive, is a law

able only to prove its own implausibility;
an X that cannot make up its mind
on why it should or should not be a Y...


I won't stop writing,
until I run out of ink, and air,
and the blinking red light nudges me

to pen my final period -
just before the darkness arrives
to wipe my mind clean.

Wearing the badge of survival
will be my favourite
four-letter words:

love, loss, left, lieu,
each meaning this and that
(nuance borrowed at low interest rates)

depending on what the invisible small print,
and the unblinking gaze of time, are saying.


Tolu Ogunlesi, East Anglia, England; Nigeria



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