Nightfall as a Portrait of Life

Olalekan Daniel Kehinde

By Olalekan Daniel Kehinde

Dusk floods my eyes with life, plants me in a zephyr,
as nightingales parcel out songs mango leaves trip onto
the dancefloor for. The shadow of a cat, cold contours
run after the rats scouting for food in a home, and dogs
wag, welcome their owners home. Now, nightfall is here:
an evolution of lucence in puerile teeth; children’s ears
itching for folklore, exciting fantasies fleshed into a heritage.
As I watch a film of broken glass return rays to a habitant,
a door opens self to the exit of hunger, hunter shouldering
cold game, blood of forest travailings trailing the threshold
of his door. I rid the branch in my hands of its leaves one
by one as if to say each is the soul of every man whose body
became light in the pursuit for survival. Night creeps
upon us and everyone else here is alive in their bones.
The mango trees—survivors of an axe’s torment. The birds
having gone wild in search of crumbs, return home whole
with the grace of the wind. The palmwine tapper rides his
bicycle back home with his full spine, wine dripping down
the mouths of his gourds in an epileptic froth. I look up
and the stars are there, faithful to the brilliance of the dark.
The day closes with unclustered sonorities, songs born out
of women thumping tubers of yam into moon; their soup
pots healthy with life to nourish their families yet at dawn.


Olalekan Daniel Kehinde (he/him), NGP XII, is an Afro-being, essayist and poet. Daniel is an award-winning writer. His poems have appeared in PIN anthologies, BPPC anthologies, The Peace Exhibit Journal, African Writers Magazine, Inkspired anthology, Woven Poetry, The Shallow Tales Review, IbadanArt, Upwrite Magazine, Poetry Column-NND, SprinNG, Agbowó, miniskirt magazine and lots more. He currently studies English and Literature Education as an undergraduate in the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. He is on Instagram and Twitter as @dapenmustgrow