3 Poems by Joseph Akinnawonu

  1. Grief

in your room,
the haemorrhage puts you to your knees
you bleed for all the things that will never return:
your virginity, your sanity – the ones your uncle erased.
your phone blinks
it’s your mother calling for the umpteenth time
you know all her apologies by their names
but no convenience to hide your tear drops
you lie to her that you will be fine
that time is the only antidepressant for grief.

2. Unnumbered

you ressurect old conversations at the dinning table
exchange laughter with the breaking of bread
your mother is a family joke,
her funny ways of using the cutleries
your brother, a memoir of games of thrones

the family photo on the wall reminds you
of the missing spaces
you know some things will never return
you remember the screeches of the ambulance tyres
the emergency room. the theatre room
the waiting. the praying
you choose not to remember your mother’s grief

at the dinning table,
you all knit hands together once again
with a solemn recitation of grace.

3. Etir pohs

at the mall,
you must learn how to grow new habits
how to trade your mother’s tongue for
an accent that does not fit
this is not a place for hand-me-downs
not a place for no name designer shirts and anything old
your iro and buba are highly contagious epidemics
the antidote is crazy jeans and miniskirts
don’t bring your mother’s madness to the cinema
her loud laughter must be broken into fractions
there is no room for your ancestry
and no out-of-ticket sales for anything home-made.

Joseph Akinnawonu: surviving, floating, breathing.

Lake Adedamola is a poet, writer, and editor with Nantygreens, who's worked with several other literary blogs including Brittle Paper. He has, since 2018, served in various capacities on the Lagos International Poetry Festival, LIPFest, team.

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