The man in the sticker
on the inner rib of the bus
promises to soften the cracked palms
of our lives— make the people we love
love us back, cure the curse of unworked hands,
sweeten the memory of our names
on every tongue.
Gardeners of our own mysteries, us passengers
look away, at the widening belt of tar once black,
lightning-scarred, steaming with mirage.
In the middle of the road, a bustle of bodies
descend on the vehicle, Lagos’ young men
hold the driver by his right-wing mirror
and he turns over two passengers’ fares.
A man, face slack like a turkey, prays
that his sons will never know
that life; the sun knifing
the backs of their heads.
The wheel sheds its skin and we grind
unto the edge, where grass and sand
reclaim the road.
Where we are, we wait
and hope that what is waiting
ahead of us
will be waiting still.
writes from Lagos, Nigeria. Her work has appeared in Isele Magazine, The Shore, and elsewhere.