Tuesday Poem by O-Jeremiah Agbaakin


(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.