(for Akinsanya Damilola)
does not start with a boy holding
his phantoms in a polythene.
i know what the river thinks
of the splashes fractured off its skin.
at the salon the artisan shears us
to our skull & a piece of every man
falls to the floor.
later a boy would lumber
the hair in a sack to a waste-truck
it starts with fingers trembling
when you hold the broken bone pieces
from the crash site the way father shook
at his ribs wrapped in the nylon
of Eve’s crimson chest.
i do admit.
analogy is a weak makeshift here:
brittle fingernails poking in my Bible
mother’s hair loss trapped in comb’s teeth,
all numbered on God’s abacus
& lips flaked by harmattan wind–
are not even close to this
i break my words like kolanut
in a book for you.
they are no longer mine.
fission is the villain here.
i know father never cleaves back.
boy, yet you are whole!
like a sickle moon in a dark sky
boy you are whole!
O-Jeremiah Agbaakin is a poet, editor, journalist and a lawyer in training.