I woke up with the moon in my eyes,
glasses of smiles to map which way my window blinds will face.
When I opened my chest and read
the scriptures written on it; I had wanted to wake my mother from her sleep and tell her that
i have found a wallpaper for my laptop.
For the many times I have tried to spell your name
on water, Illhaam, I failed to remember the nightmare that awaits
a man who picks a colourful flower and watch it dry.
If you were a bar of chocolate – sweet, paint
my whole skin brown; maybe that would tell me that grandmother
knew you were coming, when she built her hut with mud.
If you were an ice-cream, no doubt,
these cool hands are testimony of how long it could
take a child to hold a sweet ice in the dark. Coldness does not kill a man.
How can I lie to you, Illham; that
your name do not keep me awake?
that it is not the Lionel Richie I sing in my sleep with a ‘Hello!’
How could I tell you that when Maya Angelou looked into my eyes and said;
‘You were the image of everything
that caused me to sing,’ she meant you?
& that if she would come back again she would look at us and say,
‘You look so much alike. Much alike.’
is a Nigerian storyteller, poet and spoken word artist. His works have appeared in Kalahari Review, Ibua Journal, and forthcoming in Bookends Review and elsewhere. He was the 2018 NFC Essay Award Winner and as well Peace Panel Short Story Prize Winner 2018. He spends his days in a cool radio studio and spends his nights writing. In between, he sips tea, travels and receives tons of rejection letters.
Cover photo credit: Tosin Taiwo