Four Poems – Korede Kakaaki

Content warning: violence


south carolina

every night after work in
the white community,
mother sits in the sparse kitchen holding a
handkerchief because the seagulls always come
to visit her face,

her hands are calloused from
years of washing linen & changing
i mostly see her staring into vacant
spaces thinking of brother doing time
in prison after he was caught lifting at the whites owned shops down the block,
of father somewhere in the distant city
buried between the laps of a new mistress with new
promises of invincible things,

with her, i have come to know
that what we call love is sometimes
a misplaced notion, a beatified delusion, a wishful thinking
on our part because I have seen her
nursed her wounds, christened them after father’s name, hoping they become flowers growing from tender scars…



brown skin girl,
your body is a relic of old wounds
a museum of cringe memories,
you grew to know the brutality of violence
you do not know love, you think it is
a misconception
you have been there & back
you have watched your father build
a mansion of grief in your mother’s eyes
you have watched him punch her into
oblivion, into blackout!
you have watched him etch a graffiti of
scars on her body
you have watched him push her over the railing
one night he came back with a
lipstick smeared on his collar,
with the disjointed stride of a drunken man
you lost count of the times you
kept watch over her in the I.C.U.
you lost count of times the priest performed
the extreme unction on her
she has always found her way back to him
like a wave returning to the shore
she’s always found excuses for him.
love is such a masochist,
it twisted her. so, you have felt the
sensation of a wall crumbling after he
took her hands again with solemn eyes
you have seen it go around again
like a dodgem, going in circles…
brown skin girl,
you resolved never to succumb to love
you resolved never to give in to weakness
& you still see your father in every man’s face
but rise from the ashes & conquer hatred
with love that cannot be cowed!



Your mother has a dagger behind
each tooth, the first time
you watched her kiss a man, she
turned his lips into a bloodshed
She has bullets behind each eyes,
the other day she looked a man,
you read his obituary on your
way to school
She has thorns growing as hair
on her body, the last time she hugged
a man, she made him bleed into

‘Love will always run away’, she said
& the only true men are on the pages
of a catalogue

Now you stand among the throng
of wailing women as you watch
your mother lowered into her home
because she tried to love herself…


Defiance in death

The only day Mother was brave
was when she died,
She met Father’s gaze with
unflinching eyes.

Korede Kakaaki @koredekakaaki is young Nigerian poet, a certified Marlian and a music technologist among many other things.

Banner Art: Tiers of Grieving by Robert Frede Kenter Tweets: @frede_kenter

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