2 Poems – Stephen Oladayo Oladokun

The Tears of Forgotten Ghosts

the sky blinks an eye & roars &
tears cloud apart to grace wild flowers
on the soil that welcomed our fathers with opened arms.
I feel a conk on my head, a groan in my throat &
their hoarse voices grasp me like hunters trap:
children of the black soil, ashes of the
wailing flame, you set up an anvil then
crush your heads on it with a sledge hammer
& tattoo your bodies with your own blood.
you are drowning while dancing on ocean—a
baptism into a new birth—you say. & I, lost
at sea, shall we find our bones in the heart of sea?
not today, not today, gloats a dead skin from our
armpits, blessed are the bones buried in the sea.
from across the narrow sea to the head of baobab,
their wounded footprints roar on face of waters:
children of the sun, black warriors in dark coats
marching on bleeding soil, find me fire without ashes
but, you, you are burning on waters leaving your
nakedness uncover, you’ve barbed your hair &
leave your head bald. tell me, ashes of the wailing
flame, black warriors in black coats, as we are
sewing beads around waist of whirlwind, shall
we find our voices in the air?

An Idyll Beyond Blood and Flesh

a demon knocked at my door—today, yesterday… like a creditor
chasing after a debtor. together, we rode on wind & lightening
to somewhere beyond the reach of blood and flesh. the moon hid
behind a gray cloud, candle light faded away in the hands of old ladies
& a ghost in my fathers clothes called for romantic dance. i saw
our ancestors roasting corns & dancing to crack-crack-crack
of gnats wings—mystical drumbeats. a flute, hissing in the hands
of a cat as an ibex purred familiar song where their feet had first
hugged a naked road. my unborn children, holding plates of leftover food
peeped behind a thick veil in a land where the sun & the moon wear
same regalia & their footsteps thudded on their mothers belly like a fall
of a giant baobab. i beheld my mothers sagged breasts in the mouth
of a foreign dog & looked at the demon in the eye & saw a piece of orange
hanging on his fang like bat on palm tree. it wasn’t the real demon, but his brother.
for he kissed my forehead then brought me back to my igloo
where a piece of me laid like a log of wood. i felt a gentle paw on my cheek,
cold water in my eyelids & i gasped for air—it’s only a step between past and future.

Stephen Oladayo Oladokun is a writer, photographer and researcher from Nigeria whose works have appeared and forthcoming on Afribary, Fly on the Wall Poetry, Pine Cone Review, The Shallow Tales Review, Fae Dreams Anthology, Corona Blue Anthology, Innseai Journal, My Woven Words, PEN Nigeria, Melbourne Culture Corner Review, Sledgehammer, African Writers and elsewhere. He is a member of Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation in Minna Niger State, Nigeria. He is on Instagram as Oracle_Voice and on Facebook and Twitter as @OraclesVoice1.

Art/Banner: arc.of.blood, a VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter.

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