featured in  A  SEASON OF GRIEVING 


tell me  is there a difference between fire & wrath     this is
a love poem about a body set ablaze yet miraculous  yet
sea enough to grow herbs                  i love the lord but my
father’s tears were the first rain that year          love the cities
my mother covered searching for cure to a trembling body
                                how my sister folded her nose in her pockets
as she cleaned a limping body of its own ruins?    this
is a poem about love for the fireplace    an ode to every smile
squeezed out of grandma’s distressed body                   this
is a poem about thunderclaps on evenings when we ate
in silence inches away from a body counting the hands of seconds
            i think i once looked into her face & hissed at god’s
unfaithfulness         a hand once strong enough to feed a county
now fails to rise from slumber                 a coffin trapped in a body
a mouth twisting a song into a babble                    i love the lore
but this is not how it should be        little children should not
start the process of mourning by coping         etching hopes into still mouths 
my mother wraps moin-moin in clear polythene bags for dinner
& i wash my face again           attempting to unsee my god’s sixth-day error           
due to parallax  her groans reaching for her throat                    
                                                        one thing
is that you can take away the magic       trap a bomb inside
a mouth            but we are cartographer of memories       my
grandmother fed my ill mouth with ogi  & loved me like a church-bells
on sunday mornings ashed with mist & solemn prayers          fed me
stories of ijapa ati iroko             said parables in ijebu     &  
laughed at how little we know of home         one afternoon my brother & i
         ran the compounds singing       her biscuits into our 
                        hungry   bellies       
another saturday we watched wrestling with her eyes shut as she yelled
in discomfort            who would know that this body she cared so much 
for would be god’s tabernacle for disease               
 failed hands or god’s     wishes at babel         
              i love the lord but this is not how to dethrone an angel        
 this is not how to collect     light from hands that were once headlamps

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