by Bayo Aderoju



Yesterday, the village rainmaker held rain.

This morning, wind mimicked rooster, 

woke a storm,

blew rainclouds’ eclipsing garb into the supple face of God.


No amount of sniffle can drain a runny nose,

Mother remarked, coughed –

phlegm in her mouth –

spat & averred:

asunkunsi n fi ikun pamo ni*.




Darkness unfurled after the sea has swallowed

the amber sun

like an overripe orange.

I lay – in my bed – upon my back,

& let my eyes caress the white ceiling

projecting my thoughts

because my mind wouldn’t let me sleep,

because my heart felt like Thebes

where Oedipus gouged his own eyes.



Doesn’t sleep, however, wield the same charm as death?

A charade encroached my dreamland:

a snake slithered, crept hard

upon a rock in order to etch itself.

Denouement was twilight & soft rays

& gentle breeze fanning the wounds.

So the audience ran when the protagonist ran mad.


“You don’t know what you do.”

That’s what night says when it calls

to claim willpower & drop aches.

That’s the atmosphere before father left

to obtain horns for his horse.



*Sniffle only delays mucous.



Bayo Aderoju is a multi-genre writer from Nigeria. His latest fiction has been selected for inclusion in the forthcoming United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Decade of Action Short Stories Anthology. His works appear/forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Stellium, Agbowo, Platform Review, African Writer, Praxis, Spillwords, Kalahari Review, The Shallow Tales Review and elsewhere. He tweets @bayo_aderoju.



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