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Lagos gods

"the gods are exemplars of human striving" —Wole Soyinka

Festival aura fills the atmosphere
i rejoice for you                     moyo fun e
i rejoice for myself              moyo funra mi
Hatted masquerades clasp their 
traditional staff: opambata
We wander like birds—free
from the threatening echoes
creaking our walls.

                We have since paid our dues
                in form of funeral flowers

long before civilization came to make
us a home of cobwebs & in the name
of our forefathers & all the nights we
turned cold at the mention of cancel
culture—we grow wings in our sleep
but the Reaper visits us before dawn

              The morning opens         with our wings
              gone—plucked up feather    by    feather



Hail Mary 

after Tupac Shakur

The first time I was apprehended and confined
to a police station, I got served a supper of creamy 
mushroom soup. An officer whispered to my ears:
I ain't a killer, but don't push me. He painted his face
with varying colours of oppression & silhouetted
mine against the ugly walls therein. My parents had
been mistaken for Disney parents & I, for an eccentric.
I told them truths. Many truths. I told them lies. Many
lies. How our mornings open with an assembly of
hopeless children at our doorstep crying for bread. How
everytime my mother opened her palms to offer alms
ended up offering prayers. How every girl who pilfered
from my neighbour missed her succeeding crimson tide.
I told them hows. Many hows too. I was pronounced
acquitted the following morning because they thought
maybe, just maybe
                               when they turn out the lights,
                 I'll be there in the dark.


image: Dina L. Relles