Vestigial Anatomy by Chukwuma Ndulue

I’ve become adept 
at shepherding
heartbreak to minute 
areas of the body,
treating the lesions 
with smoothing iron 
and ice in equal measure. 

I’m an imperfect mechanism,
an unskilled plough hand—
my pastures razed, 
my stained bones fallow. 

I wish to beat my arms
into an instrument 
more useful to a world
that’s full and waiting
with cocked hammers.

          The mystery in my body
          is spoiling in this climate:

eyes dutiful derailed 
by a sincere wince of interest,
ears easily fooled by dire 
palaver, heart quickly hocked 
to renegade causes—

Chukwuma Ndulue is the author of the chapbook Boys Quarter (Ugly Duckling Presse). He has been the recipient of fellowships from Columbia University and Kenyon College. Recent publications can be found on

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.