photography of small blue and brown bird


by Bayowa Ayomide

– or how to bail on your bed.

First, one needs a nose respirator or a lab coat,

a science-student or a surgeon.

Lock the bird up in a box made up of transparent carpentry.

Fear is enough to make a bird a scapegoat,

the sky is what a bird needs to disappear.

Dissection into a correctional institution is an inside job.

The bird is not caged.

It would be best if you placed a penny in an inmate’s hand.

The officer’s circumrotation is from the right; you take a left.

The bird has a different look, maybe a butterfly—

the one that flings around your belly

when you’re called upon to give a speech.

Something like a slingshot is us on you from the audience.

You’re not sure; your mind is a battlefield of negativity.

The bird will not be caged.

Tonight, the correctional officers are not changing shifts.

The prison smells the same. When you wake from your bed, the dissection is your body structure carving your likeness on a foam.

Your hands are in plain views all times;

visitors are not allowed to hug nor touch you.

You know this is not pure science,

the deadliest weapon is launched in your psyche.

A bird’s cage is her song.

You’re a survivor; you’ll bring the war in your throat to its knees.

Please take out your cell apparatus,

that item we use to put one within electronic frames.

Smile. Chirp. Break loose. Let the still-life victim escape.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


BAYOWA AYOMIDE is a Nigerian-Canadian poet, filmmaker, actor, and cinematographer. He transferred from the University of Ibadan to complete his B.A in Theatre and Drama Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto, Canada. He was a long-list of the Nigerian Students Poetry Award 2018, shortlist of the 2018 Eriata Oribabhor’s Poetry Contest, the runner up of the 2020 On-Spot Poetry Writing Contest, a shortlist of 2018 and 2019 Christopher Okigbo Interuniversity Poetry Prize. His works have appeared on Praxis-magazine online, Africanwriter, Afas Review 2018, The Medium- University of Toronto’s Campus Newspaper and BPPC. He is the author of the chapbook, ‘Stream of Tongues, Watercourse of Voices.’ He believes so much in the nightly prophecies of the crickets behind his window.



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