Watch Me Dance By Kechi Mbah

Watch Me Dance

~to afrobeat and the way it lets us all

The night rolls thick
its black heavy on my skin
as a static twist begins from the stereo:

a drum
a shake
the woven shells bounce
Fela Kuti’s peppered shouting.

Zombie o Zombie
Zombie o Zombie
a joro, jara, joro

The wind convulses
the air twists back

Zombie o Zombie
Zombie o Zombie

and soon arrives this quick hush feeling of falling
the stillness divorcing from my body
its sharp unfastening of hips.

Zombie no go go, unless you tell ‘em to go

Strikes a tremble across my shoulder
feet aflame against wood
a numb fire with the floor,

Zombie no go stop, unless you tell ‘em to stop

Through slides of clung fat
has my belly wave resistance
fingers caught kissing tomorrow’s sun.

Zombie no go turn, unless you tell ‘em to turn

But I am, spinning
within the felt flash
there’s a speed pressed upon these limbs

and it has me held
in the way a mango holds its seed
never an escaping of this music
just a stalled becoming.

Zombie o Zombie
Zombie o Zombie
a joro, jara, joro

A shift stomping inside the chest
my braids swimming through the soft slick heat

and here, watch
my body go carry with it.

Zombie o Zombie
Zombie o Zombie

The air convulses
the wind twists back.

*contains excerpts from the song “Zombie” by Fela Kuti.

By Kechi Mbah


Kechi Mbah is a first-year at the University of Notre Dame. She first found a love for poetry when she stumbled upon a YouTube video of a Brave New Voices slam competition in the fall of 2019 and has been performing and writing poetry ever since. Her poetry explores many avenues from making the known strange to chronicling her experiences as a Nigerian-American and the histories of her people. She served as a 2021-22 National Student Poet and her work can be found in Blue Marble Review, The Incandescent Review, elementia, and elsewhere.

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