Two Poems by Dipe Jola

these walls are too loud

mother chants my name through the doors –
hollow as a piped bone.        she folds the letters
into an iron gun. shoots every time.
she breathes through the walls as if my name is
something too heavy to pierce the mass of grey
earth. this name, polished in the southern part
of this border is a garden of eruptions.
       ronke!             ronke!             ronke!
salt this tongue and it rings through the house
again as if learning to call my name till it evaporates.
she doesn’t quit.      my brother too.      even these walls
separating us – i hear its whispers every night.   It
ruffles like a radio, in search of frequency.       [shriek]
the child is only a bird.      my name is only a noun but
these walls chirp too loud.       ronke! ronke!


A sorrow ridden lad sits with his back hinged
to a treehouse. He doesn’t see the light without
a reflection of particles. The treehouse is a gallery
of all the dead children in his throat. He sundries
them daily and sadly like a child gifted with a
malfunctioning toy car.

All the dead children in my family are made into stones.
My mother carries them like an autograph everywhere she goes:
the market, her friends’ naming ceremony and elsewhere.
I don’t carry this grief. Dead things don’t tell of the dead.
A bright blue sky can’t tell of grief.

The treehouse is a morgue.
My family’s dead children are experiments.
We watch the sky fall. The night is a young lamb.
The world is asleep. A genocide is trampling somewhere
& we are deaf.

Dipe Jola is a poet from Lagos, Nigeria and a Best Of The Net Nominee. She contributed to Momento: an Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry (Animal Heart Press 2020) edited by Adedayo Agarau. She was the first runner up for the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, 2018. Some of her published works are on African Writer, FeralPoetry, Minerallit, Kalahari Review, Turnpike Magazine, and elsewhere. She can be reached via Twitter @jola_ng

Banner: Markings, a digital art work by Robert Frede Kenter

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