After The Kano Riot of 1991
father spreads his palms,
i plant my head in them &
he harvests my tears.
in the horizon,
the sea is swallowing the sun
like the earth, my brother’s bones.
in this garden,
father and i are one in grief.
mother is somewhere among the stars,
her shadow, a dark cloud over us.
father rains tears on my head,
i look up into his eyes—
an ocean of dead things
trapping stories too heavy for the mouth to tell.
coiled on the raffia mat inside what remains of our home,
he talks about our tears in God’s bottle—
son, God remembers the mourning…
i look into the night for a sign,
the face of God.
the night is empty but
at the door is
my brother, smiling at me.
For Amudalat Mopelade (A Poem to Trap Memories)
In my dreams, you come as fireflies—
colonies of lights floating away like a lost kite in the sky.
And the more I reach,
the more the distance stretches.
Collages of archipelagos rise between us and I can’t cross to you.
Ah! These paradoxes, I’m losing my mind!
I am a car speeding off in a highway and
you are a receding picture in the rearview.
But you’re so with me, Amudalat,
your presence is a statement of fact.
Adeola Juwon Gbalajobi is a Nigerian poet, ghostwriter and a self-conscious introvert. He uses his poems to navigate his human experience.