Tinderbox is fundraising to support our next ten years. Check out our GoFundMe! Donations will be matched up to our $1,000 goal.

Delicate Sonata

I must admit I am a fragile thing. Song w/ vulnerabilities,

river w/ wobbling limbs,   child w/ wool for anger.

A congregation of light worships in this finger. Boy,

touch me, watch me mushroom. Touch me, watch me

vapour, watch the wind steal my body for a dance. I am

the warehouse of my family’s joy—say, a bucket-list of

answered prayers. Call me a repentant man’s peace

offering, everything the finger of God wants. I,

delicious pap on a toddler’s gum. I, fresh air every

sojourner desires. A doctor prescribes my name

to a patient—I, dosage for every ailment. *I dey

commot bodi for anywhere wahala tanda. Last night,

my lover banged the door of my body against me—

you break too often as the day, be a man, she says. I don’t

even know what that means. Give me your anger to tend,

watch it wilt, watch it liquefy. No knife would dance

if you turned on the music in my body. No passage for

needles to thread. Pass a comment on the gorgeous ridges

my smile moulds, watch my eyes bud with heaven,

watch them tulip with magnificence. I am what I say

I am.    Pick me, I’d catfish back into the water.


Flourish Joshua stands in his room before his bunk bed, in a white long sleeve shirt. His right cheek is slightly covered with his right palm, and he feels like a pack of awe.

Flourish Joshua is a Nigerian poet, writer, editor, and linguist. He is the winner of the 2021 Salt Nation Poetry Prize, and longlisted for the 2022 Frontier OPEN Prize. He’s appeared in Palette Poetry, the Shore Poetry, London Grip Poetry, miniskirt magazine, Olongo Africa, Blue Marble Review, the Indianapolis Review, Agbowó, Poetry Column-NND, Five South Journal, East French Press, Isele Magazine, Magma Poetry, Pepper Coast Lit, Lumiere Review, and elsewhere. He is a member of the Frontiers Collective.