ELEGY FOR THE FIG TREE by Agbaakin O-Jeremiah

ELEGY FOR THE FIG TREE by Agbaakin O-Jeremiah

Fig tree

Elegy for the fig tree

by Agbaakin O-Jeremiah

but what business do i have   with the living?

we all become slaves   to memories & chains

remain only to be broken. broken by songs,

a figment plucked from the son’s imagination

of sweetness. or at worst, a quenching. verily,

i have never vanquished loneliness. i tremble

at a body in the white shroud, then lowered in

a slow crater made by hands falling & rising.

iyanju  l’agbe n gbin— we sow a seed for this

soil to ponder on.  i feel kin with what’s other

than me. the paw that holds the claws like key

teething into the unknown animal of my body.

why shouldn’t i trust the dark? the unripe fig.

i fear for the obstinately unripe plantain, for

the life it so much guards against a keen knife

& a pot of boiling water & the net of a grill in

the backyard.  but the rot has come to stay. its

blackening peel burnt into potash & camwood

for a lather cleansing us & all our dead. verily,

i’ll bring a dove into my house but let the owl

starve outside. verily, i fear to touch the dead

cock more than a maternal hen gathering her

children in her wings, & the rest in the shadows

of those leavened wings. her eyes red with love

or fear. i love my fears, for they wait to soften

at my embrace. i fear my love will turn sour in

a mouth like a sponge of water turning sour in

a forsaken mouth, after the honey of mere words

& our sweet kiss. what always lingers is the curse.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)


O-JEREMIAH AGBAAKIN holds an LL. B degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems are recently published or forthcoming in Palette, Poet Lore, Guernica, Pleiades, North Dakota Quarterly, RATTLE, among others. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and his manuscript placed finalist for the 2020 Sillerman FirstBook Prize for African Poets. He has served as editor/reader for Africa in Dialogue, PANK and Jalada Africa.




by Sheikha A. 

Her eyes are ponds rippling the moon;
snip in the air turning fade
and the confusion of a quarrel
with the deceased relative’s visit
in mother’s dream is grimier
than the clarity of murky water  
she saw centered in a ruinous court-
yard. It must have been the moon
had browned in the hide of a bear –
the tones of honey-hue yet majestic dusky;
she wasn’t able to tell one from the other
while we waited as a weightless voice
like in chants of allegiance, when a grave
is ordered to convert into a fruit-
bearing field. Mother’s mind is  
listening to winds; how fast metres
race when arrival collides with departure.
Of late, this is how it’s been. She gets
on her feet with a scrubber and can’t
decide what corner needs most
cleaning attention. Fabrics of chiffon
are the different ways she folds  
in decisiveness. We see her looking
outwards, towards the common  
man taking the bus to work, she  
sees his feet are steady even if his
heart has lost accountability of
the number of breaths he draws  
out of his veins, just to watch the day
successfully end without incident.
There is envy in that sort of timeliness;
predictability doesn’t have to be
a god, or human invention. And
we have seen many springs take
the stairs of summer to alter  
flashing lights into a comfortable
breach-birthed darkness. We are
here hanging like the first sign,
the kind that we miss because  
of speed, also cannot reverse to.
Mother knows from the circling
birds overhead, neon rains
are about to wet flamboyant  
paints of vitality.



Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her works appear in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications are Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, Atlantean Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Arabic, and Persian. She has also appeared in Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love anthology that has been nominated for a Pulitzer. More about her can be found here
WHAT TO IMAGINE by Yusuff Uthman Adekola

WHAT TO IMAGINE by Yusuff Uthman Adekola


by Yusuff Uthman Adekola

What to imagine by Yusuff Uthman Adekola – Shortlist (Top Five) of the 2018 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

Imagine you were a fish
Placed on a sandy line between water and land,
Feeling the caressing touch of life on one end
Yet feeling the peeling scorch of death on the other..

Imagine. Just imagine. 

Imagine you were a goat
Tethered to a stake where a guillotine lurks unseen,
Savouring the painful delight of amputated freedom
But before your bleating doubt lies a mountain of cassava…
Imagine. Just imagine.


Imagine you were a bulb
Dangling and dancing to the wobbly rhythm of the Abiku,
Celebrating your glowing garment for a second swiftly murdered
But soon mourning your drowning light for a million faceless years…

Imagine. Just imagine. 

Imagine you were a pot
Twerking to the sweltering me(a)lody of searing flames,
Spitting grief through a cloudy rise of curly steam
Yet spraying the aroma of hope into hungry nostrils…

Imagine. Just imagine.

Imagine you were
The only molecule of air amongst a swelling family of heat,
The only pond of water on the fiery face of a sprawling desert,
The only one-legged lion in a den of legless lions,
The only green leaf amongst a sea of yellowing leaves…
Imagine. Just imagine.
Imagine all these,
But never imagine you were a lonely human
Bound by the fetters of national tendrils of spikes and spites,
National tendrils unworn only with the politics of connections,
Or else you shall worship the haunting ghost of slain salaries…
Perhaps imagine. But don’t imagine this for long.




Yusuff, Uthman Adekola writes to reflect his society. His poems have appeared in a few literary/non-literary journals and websites like Praxis Magazine, Ngiga Review and more.
He also does poetry performance and a bit of spoken words. He has performed his poems in few events across Nigeria and has made the shortlist of or won certain poetry contests.
He believes in the use of art for social change.



by Steven Dangu
These scars are the failed
Miracles of life, the ones I failed to believe
My rush-days and failures were
Answered prayers I was praying
The cup passing over me
Not knowing they were part of the process
Of my creation, in my creation, for my betterment.
No regrets now, the process ain’t despised
Each piece is making each step clearer
Each step of the way is bringing the ideas together
As each idea in all of we is making us, making
Life more understandable here
Revealing the beauty that seemed
Never there or that couldn’t be imagined.
Your smile is a healing ministry in itself
Showering blessings on blessings
Keep shining that eternal smile upon me
That lets me know how you are glad with me
How perfectly magical you are when you smile
The whole world stops, stares, marvels and professes
The majesty you carry in your smile.


My name is Dangu Steven Simon, from Jos. Studied Medical Laboratory Sciences at the University of Jos. My love for Art got me into writing. Art is beautiful and Art is Life.

LIFE IS A CROOK by Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi

LIFE IS A CROOK by Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi

Life is a Crook

Life is a crook and though

you pour him drinks and fill his bed

with feathers and whores.

It’s the uneven face of the sky

it’s cloudy in Pompei as

fog sneezes over the city;

she bleeds rain there.

But our crops thirst and the squirrel’s nails blunt

From digging holes yearlong

here the sky is so clear and blue

to provoke the earth to dusty rage.

KD poem plate 1 (1)

Somewhere, a man visits the rain-lord

another loops his only buba  to hang his neck

if only he knew the Morrow would mate flood

those seasons your barns swelled and yams

you baptized in red, swirling oil

now you grumble for the rains

have taken her wares to another market.


You’ve turned your womb to a slaughterhouse

of tiny men for the mothering hour hasn’t come

somewhere a couple eats cocoyam alone

without the murmur of kids.

Life is the sound of rain

beating on my zinc roof

The rhythm is taut and noisy

Like giants marching

In between, Calm peeps through

the torrent of noise so the honks of geese

and the flutter of sparrows, we hear again.

Though he has gulped all your ale

he’s never too drunk to not walk in

straight, sane lines like a pious drunk

on his last trip to the monastery.

Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi Jeremiah is a law undergraduate in University of Ibadan. Born on the 9th of April, 1994 in Ikire, Osun state, he’s an active pressman in the university community. His pen has been rewarded in both essay and poetry contests. He’s a two time finalist of W.R.R-organized Briggite Poirson Poetry Contest. Apart from his keen love for legal studies, he has burning passion for writing fantasy novels, poems, and on philosophy. Battle Scar, a novel about the Biafran war was published to his credit on the top online forum site, Nairaland in 2013 and it received a wide read.

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