My Nigerien Friend and his Stubborn Smile


So because you're not glued by blood

mere haemo-bond,

you shrug at the news at 8.

You say there are no worried wrinkles

on the forehead of the cute newscaster

who brings bloody news

from Potiksum, only in a jiffy;

about dying babies in overcrowded IDP camps.

But would you blame her,

Her tear gland is a dry well.

The corporate duress screams

"Shed no tears, show no emotion!"

They say Oprah Winfrey

divorced her own fetters on the desk

of the same corporate duress.

But I say “shed no tears

to know the pains of these orphans-

tenants under dirty bridges.

You must first enter the parlour of their grief,

and burn in the kitchen of their memories.

You'd see, the only fire there

is that of loved ones

burning with bombs.”

Don't be fooled

by their clipped mouths,

for when anguish is excessive,

It castrates your tongue.

We're one big family

separated only by our indifference.

I once stumbled on a new relative:

A Nigerien lass, tugged at me

Her hair curly and shampooed

by extreme sunlight,

her bony finger tore my new Designer shirt;

at first, I was enraged,

but then, that ugly hole led to a map

that led me to a Kingdom of families.

A raconteur told me

“no child is fatherless.

Are there not too many men

to go round?

But love is enough

to check against the kerfuffle in Chibok,

and the searing screams in broken homes.”

“You do not mend dying homes with bricks

but another bit of love.”

He said.

Home is not only where you go at nights;

it is also the stubborn smile

on my Nigerien friend.

Agbaakin O. Jeremiah, an aspiring poet and campus Editor reads law in University of Ibadan.
His works have graced several anthologies including Briggite Poirson Anthology and are forthcoming onThe Niyi Osundare @70 Anthology, Irawo Anthology,  etc.
His other publications feature (and forthcoming) on Liquid Imagination, Antarctica Journal, Wagon Magazine, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, African Writer, Sub-Saharan Magazine, Pulse Nigeria and elsewhere.
He was a shortlisted for 2016 Dwarts Poetry Prize.  He also won the maiden edition of Ogidigbo Poetry Contest, University of Ibadan;  and was also a six-time finalist of 2016 Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest.

My Nigerien Friend and his Stubborn Smile

by Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi



Join our reading community

Join our reading community

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get free access to our library of poems, short stories and essays. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

It's worth sharing

Share this post with your friends!