portal / credit: de
It’s never enough but it’s plenty:
it bore other names,
one title different from the next, i
can’t hold on to the shadows.
so, i spelt it as mother. As yeshua.
As boy. As poetry.
of the sea as a knot,
of a mouth in stitches, kneeling,
of a heart not accustomed to munching the
gloom my mother splashes on apl ate for me.
sometimes, void is a kind
of shape too.
I am unmoved. I am moved
by the homes I find in cracks of walls.
Hands dipped in hot àkúùkù soup is
how I remember my mother’s warmth most.
There’s a kind of love, so I have heard.
Your kind of love will be questioned,
so I have been told.
I do not understand God and He is home.
I do not understand my mother and she is home.
I do not understand this body well and I call it
home too. Another kind of void.
it’s an apostle with guidelines of
how to be a plethora of butterflies.
(àkúùkù — a kind of soup from Ondo, Nigeria)
how i remember it:
a threefold twine not
breaking easily gathers wilted red roses in a mug,
when the war first broke out
we lost our language for a morsel of kindness,
and tried to pray away the color of our skin. this is
how i remember it.
i ask my sister how memories work. she gasps like
the sunflower betrayed by the dew at dusk. asks in a
tone in need of honey, what have you taken from me?,
what have i lost name for? my body on a tour as
the news of a noose an unkept lighthouse,
capitalism bearing down on me, I, my teeth clamped
hard. sometimes, i think about the many ways to
endure home. other times, i think about which is
harder to please: God or you?
About Adenle Iyanuoluwa Deborah
Adenle Iyanuoluwa Deborah is a poet and a writer. Her work has appeared on Kalahari Review, Africanwriter, and forthcoming in other literary journals. Her poem, ‘Why I have flowers growing from the corners of my mouth’ came fourth in the Sevhage/Angya Poetry Prize 2019. She writes from Osun, Nigeria. She tweets and read other people’s tweets at @teleayo_.