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in a dream i don’t tell anyone about

two boys my age are on their way home from madrasah

one picks up a hundred naira note by the roadside

& suddenly becomes the texture of the wind


breaking news

at the cemetery some buried corpses are missing again       

lost     if found please return to the nearest lichyard


you ask why i write verses about grief & missing people

don’t you understand   tomorrow you/i may be the next

person plucked from the face of the earth          lost

& never to be found again


my uncle walks around with amulets tied to his waist

at night his wife recites ayyatul kurisiyyu from the Qur’an

& teaches the children how to say

bismillah tawakkalti ‘alal-laah …

before leaving the house every morning


i too understand the sacrament     in which we beseech Allah

to be our sanctuary

& protect us from the hands that keep snatching

snatching souls away from our bodies


teach me how to survive the night        teach me

how to weather the day in a country where every road

seems to lead to the waiting mouth of death

Sodïq Oyèkànmí is a genre-bending writer of Yorùbá descent. He is a florist, librarian, and thespian. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, his works have been published/ forthcoming in Poetry Wales, The Muse Journal, trampset, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Olney Magazine, and Agbowó. He tweets @sodiqoyekan.
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