MY NIGERIEN FRIEND AND HIS STUBBORN SMILE by Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi
My Nigerien Friend and his Stubborn Smile
So because you're not glued by blood
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;
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
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
Don't be fooled
by their clipped mouths,
for when anguish is excessive,
It castrates your tongue.
We're one big family
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
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,
“You do not mend dying homes with bricks
but another bit of love.”
Home is not only where you go at nights;
it is also the stubborn smile
on my Nigerien friend.
ABOUT THE AUTHORAgbaakin 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.