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poetry column

I die like waves

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By Daniel Orisaeke

On the shoreline, I watch
the sun—a halved-cut lemon
dip into the sea,
language written
in the dance of waves
there is a pull and I succumb.
The man beside me murmurs a few words
about dying.
Iniquities,
like beads, jut out from my pores
before hands
drown me into a sea of lemonade.
I die like the waves.
A bitter-sweet enveloping—opaque & quiet
there is a pain before I see black.
I wonder if my tears segregate,
seeking absolution.
I resurrect a new creature—made whole
but the sourness lingers.

BIO:
Daniel Orisaeke (he/him) is a poet and a dental student in the University of Nigeria, Enugu. Twitter handle: @dannie_bry

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poetry column

Lances at the hedges of light

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By Samuel A. Betiku

With Nigeria’s economy and poverty levels worsening, abductions have become an almost daily occurrence in recent years — Reuters

Until now, you savoured the world in packets of myth, moon-
lit frolic and a cot where the soft ripple of praise succeeds the rooster’s
call and the amber flush of afterglow. What did you know of a country
flailing outside the stained glasses of your eyes, eyes your mother looked into
to relearn the curves of a hymn: what did you know of being a prey
or of a complicit knot of trees and underbrush lining a dire trail,
blanketing the gleam of tomorrow. You watch your friends trudge on,
each laboured step a prayer no one dares to say out loud. When you open
your mouths, it is to let out a wisp of stifled cry, to risk the gruff nudge
of a gun. At the end of the road, your plundered selves waiting, inescapable.
What can you give to stay a haloed house? You look down at your feet
crusted with crimson and grit and imagine your mother sitting outside
the shed, the quiet sob of petition, the drooped heft of her brow, barely able
to stare at a sky spangled with lights closer to home than her daughter.

BIO:
Samuel A. Betiku is a Nigerian writer from the city of Ondo, South West Nigeria. His works have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Rattle, The Offing, Frontier poetry, The Temz Review, Trampset, The Christian Century, Strange Horizons, Agbowó, The Deadlands, and elsewhere.

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poetry column

The Knowledge

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By Kei Vough Korede

In a dream, two bars of soap
Were handed to me—
One containing melancholy.
The other, mirth.
A voice instructed me to give
The former to my father and keep
The latter for myself.
I broke each bar into half
And handed a half of each soap to my father:
His pain is my pain. My joy is his joy.

BIO:
Kei Vough Korede, he/they, poet, fashion and mustache enthusiast. He works on his manuscript Oral History. Flirt with him on Twitter @theDilatedSoul

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poetry column

Hoping for the greens we left behind

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By Alobu Emmanuel

—after Saheed Sunday

The day I realised the earth’s misery
was when my keyboard’s auto-correct
called me a poor earth instead of a poet.
the earth is beautiful; so beautiful that mother nature
should slice our hands for daring to touch her this way.
now i sit by the sea & pray the waves to take me—
take me to those days when we, little lads, would
bend our pointer fingers together, calling on cattle egrets—
the white leke leke. begging for fine fingers.
let us grin at the greens in the neighbour’s yard once more,
preying on the praying mantis & spreading our wings
with grasshoppers. we did not always know what the
malaria capsule or the pharmacy looks like—
we have lemon grass & guava leaves
to heal our ills,
fresh fruits & roots to quell the hunger
& make us last longer.
i hope the fireflies & crickets come around again
in their numbers; buttocks lulling the night
into sparkles of green & peace.
our hands are soiled with oil. may the leke leke fly by
to give us new ones.

 

BIO:
Alobu Emmanuel is a student of Philosophy at the University of Lagos, Nigeria who strongly believes nature holds a great deal of magic. Some of his poems are featured in “Blue Marble Review”, “Eboquills”, “Celestite Poetry”, “Agape Review” and “HotPot Magazine”. His poems often feel like a hug.

Leke leke: cattle egrets (believed by Nigerian kids to cause white spots on finger nails).
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