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mother sits me down beneath
the faint glow of Òṣùpá and asks me why Òṣùpá
shines at night.

I lift my hands like a funnel & summon
the wisdom of the elders.

[Search Entry #1]:>>
      did Olódùmarè not create the sun to
      ’luminate the world of the day?

[Search Entry #2]:>>
      did he then forge the moon
      to give light only to witches & demons & the spirits of
      all those who must hide from the day?

[Results #1]:>>
      even mother once told me—a child born
      well will only walk the day, but the one born
      bad cannot part with the night.

[Advanced Results ##1]:>>
      I imagine Olódùmarè holding two orbs in
      two big hands and grinning—you, pilot the
      good & you, guide the evil.

[Unfurling Hidden Results ###]:>>
      say, did the elders not swear that the one who
      doesn’t burn the lamp at night will himself
      burn under the sun?

by that, did they not mean to say that to work under the
moon is to build a formidable tomorrow?

[Analysing Collected Results #0; Drawing Conclusion]:>>
      I bring down my funnel hands cold & full with the
      wisdom of the elders &
      I say to mother—maami, Òṣùpá shines at night so
      that we may walk in darkness.

[Implication]:>>
      mother laughs and calls me the son of elders. she
      says—you have removed the oldest mystery.

then she flaps her wings & levitates & darts into
the dark, moon-streaked skies, cawing—
darkness is light, darkness is light.



Elisha Oluyemi is a Yorùbá writer and editor-in-chief of Fiery Scribe Review. Winner of the Brigitte Poirson Literature Prize 2023 and the Ikenga Short Story Prize 2023, his writing is (forthcoming) in Strange Horizons, Lolwe, Mystery Tribune, Broken Antler, Mukana, Isele, and elsewhere. He tweets @ylisha_cs. Website: https://elishaoluyemi.carrd.co.
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