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This story started when he heard the cockerel crow
in the middle of the dark blanket, night threw across
the city.
It was the reason he had left the village—the cockerel—
perched, on the Oghede tree in his father’s
courtyard.
You see, the story has babies strapped to its back,
in fact every portion of it
has these impudent babies seeking your attention.
Without these babies, the story is fruitless like a tree in harmattan,
and handicapped—unable to navigate life on its own.
The cockerel is his grandmother, so claims the cockerel.
Isn’t grandmother a woman, and cockerel—male?
//I now know you are the one who stole my gold ring,
return it or your Karma will be irreparable// cooed the cockerel.
When he had purloined grandmother’s gold ring, it was because
the villain he authorized in his core
desired to enchant a girl whose charm
bequeathed love strokes on his kennel.
No one knew the girl except hoary villagers, and
when he asked about the girl, they freed the air
in their lungs before replying
“We sure knew that lass, she died three decades ago”
Even if he still had the gold, to whom does he give it,
the clucking cockerel or his grandmother’s
rot in earth’s insatiable belly?
It was in this grotesque sitch he fondled for several new moons,
tethering at the edge of psychosis.
He moved to the city, to tunnel away from the
hair crawlingness of the village.
But guess what?
   Grandmother still comes to demand her gold ring
anytime the power of illumination leaves its shadow
in our care, and
      the story toddles in its first baby steps.



Patricia Omozele Sukore is a Nigerian poet and writer. She has works published or forthcoming in FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, IceFloe Press, The Hellebore, and elsewhere. She tweets her passions at @patsukore.
Current Issue
12 Apr 2021

The spaces within me both heal and house oracular properties.
By: Morgan L. Ventura
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Morgan L. Ventura
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Morgan L. Ventura's “Dispatch from a Ruin in Mitla, the Town of Souls,” with a reading by the poet.
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