Two poems by Adenle Iyanuoluwa Deborah • Empty Mirror

portal / credit: deportal / 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.

Taking shapes

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_.

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