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Safe Haven

after Omah Lay

Godspeed, relative    

to the thighs I wind    

my chaos against—

Cyclones of hours    

& desires, the sonic    

griefs buzzing aloud, 

screaming safety, & I,   

there inside a bulb.   

Fast flashes of light

dyes the chaos purple,    

hammers me a song

& a somatic stimulus. 

The tango of earth’s    

axis is made vivid    

in my head, this head-

-set, this bottleneck,    

this weird sorrow    

centrifuging a boy. 

“Safe Haven” is written after Nigerian musician Omah Lay’s song of the same name.


Olumide Manuel, NGP IX, is a writer, a biology teacher and an environmentalist. He is a nominee of Pushcart Prize, and the winner of Aké Climate Change Poetry Prize 2022. His works have been published on Magma Poetry, Trampset, Uncanny Magazine, Agbowó Magazine, Up The Staircase Quarterly, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere.