ÌRÒNÚ Ò PAPỌ̀ By Ayeyemi Taofeek Aswagaawy

Written by Bada Yusuf Amoo

history holds some news of hard talk for Naija.
& tongues send wishes of hard luck to her.

they are biting comments.
reading to us where we got it wrong.

the story behind the destruction. & i dissolved into silence. in the heat of anger.

na den a nou se yawa don gas.

even today. no food. no electricity. no fuel. just like every other day.

while i threw my head into dust. like the slippers of the farmers daughter.
a cynic picked my head with a hoe of question: “is there a God, if yes, what’s His religion?”

i looked at the hands of time. & fixed into my mouth the tongues of poetry.
i asked him. “who asked you about the crucifixion of Jesus?”

but he proceeded. care-free:
“will you tell me the perils of long courtship? & is it wrong in the ladies. (against obsession). taking off the veil?”

& I stormed in. don’t you see His religion among His signs? obvious.
& how does other’s Hijabs block your sight?

if your heart keeps throwing your face on the water.
pick every Scriptures. grind every words. sieve them.
& see how powder escapes from shafts.

but take a look at the sky high up.
cloudy. pregnant of murky milieu.

can’t you see heads. aligned. on the borderline.
rubbing minds. on how to bypass the crossroads to the Rubicon.

can’t you send your ears to our soldiers. & hear how they mutter: “our arms are troubled.”
& how their colleagues die. with. no coffin. no grave.

yet. giving up. not an option.
even AWOL isn’t an excuse.
& martial dilates its eyes at them.

errm. biding farewell for the workshops. now. is like giving the farewell sermon.
talking to one’s children before leaving for office.

is like the Luqman’s piece of advice.

for. many have gone without return. poverty-stricken now seek wealth with their child.
while the rich men seek child with their wealth.

also. every morning headline narrates the confessions of a second wife.
& of the first.

now think.
when shall we move from bad. to good. to excellent?
because the journey so far. is nothing to be reduced into the pages of history.

remember when the prison gate was opened.
can you recall what happened as the colossus steps out?

he ululated: “who will forgive you.

if you die. leaving naught for the future?

but let me. give you my final word – before i go – not of death:
“be grateful by being graceful. because. verily.

the sun will rise again.”

& as we departed. I stumbled on two love birds. singing. romancing.
the cock said:

“mai bebi. my heart beats for you. yo lof de draiv mi krezi. & de giv mi saniti. yu bi faya. yu bi wota.”

i threw my head to the right. & to the left. & again. & again.
till i murmured:
“ìrònú ò papọ̀. ìyá ń ronú. ọmọ ń rokà.”

ìrònú ò papọ̀̀: thought isn’t unison.
ìyá ń ronú: mother is thinking.
ọmọ ń rokà: the child is turning oka (a type of swallow meal made from yam.

About the author

Bada Yusuf Amoo