Teach Me How to Swim │ Amal-Sobur Adedokun │ Poetry


come here, watch him bend and jump into the river
how he breaks the surface every few seconds to laugh at me
i write in the poem that i cannot swim
that i can only bend my body and jump into sad poems
wear a o around my neck and fold the stanzas across
my chest like shawls in harmattan, and swim through
whimpering words looking for where home is
he said that dead people visit this river when it gets dark
and they sing so loud that the fishes can hear
i put my ear to a fist full of dirty river before it runs down my fingers
and listen for my own voice singing
i am a dead woman
i am a fish without gills, a fish that cannot breathe in air
he asks me sometimes: when will you go home?
I say: soon, soon, very soon before
his parents hear that Anti Korper does not know where home is
home was a calabash before they sawed it into two
and Korper cannot live in palm wine, cannot be the dirt
flowing on his father’s friends drinks
another day his father says that people die in books
that people get mad and hide in books
no, people die in calabashes when they don’t leave
after it gets sawed
people get mad and make home of open calabashes
he stared at me from the river bank
I said: teach me how to swim
when he nodded I said the river had just taught me
how to show a boy that we can be small enough to fit in closed calabashes

Born in Lagos in 1999, Amal-Sobur Adedokun writes poems about towns and cities and all the questions that plague his mind, moving from one to another. He is student of Civil Engineering in the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He travels, reads, and plays taekwondo. Facebook: Sobur Adedokun

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