Chukwu Emmanuel’s My Reflection Comes With The Innocence Of An April Rain was shortlisted for June 2020 Collins Elesiro Literary Prize.

There are a thousand things to say about childhood. This thing of frenzy is vulnerable
like glass. What I am saying is a language knitted in our spines as wool. The aftermath
of pleasing everybody is discomfort. I am a victim of this nightmare. I know what self –
inflicted wounds looks like. Feel this slice of this story. A body is hijacked from what it
should have been. Exorcism. What is the most convincing lie ever told to sons? A boy must
not show fragility. A boy must swallow his hands during supper. A boy must also learn to
accept what his father places into him. Memory is the curator of motions. Imagine when
the boy finds the world resting upon his shoulders like family inheritance. Here, blood
becomes blacker when it touches white cloth. What maims memory is the bullet of regrets.
Imagine anxiety as a question of sorts. Distress is a lone word seeping out of my mouth.
Fixation is this truth at a standpoint. What is reflection if not to bring the body under the
ray of light? I confess there are parents who still shell colors off their children. Who still
demand what doesn’t belong to them. What people do not tell well is the pains of survival.
Imagine emotional traumas as I brought you into this world. Is there any facade strong
enough to hide from the eyes of light? Before every mirror, silence looms. Children look
themselves over & something stirs in their breast cage. There are days, I feel like them.
Vulnerable. Soft & Sodden. When mercy places a thing in our hands, where does it return us?
Here, I am feeling the lines on my palms as the compass home. Here, I am touching
myself & feeling sadness drift apart. My innocence is like April rain. I still remember
mother teaching me how to give my body over to it.


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