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Ayokunle Samuel Betiku: How I Hold Myself Together


— after the blaring onslaughts from loudspeakers


Lately, I have learnt to write as I sense.

It is one thing to dissect the body, but it’s a more difficult

thing to dissect the heart.

I spend the night crawling back into the sun

& spend the day digging out stars from the sky.

But you must know, the things I inscribe are not all glints.

There are times in this place the air drops heavy with the

news of raids

& I am forced to carry the memories of flesh peeling off

walls of soot,

forced to relive the sight of bombs shaking the earth loose

of houses she once held in her pouches.

There are times I harvest smothering voices from hot


times I touch my radio & pick up bits of shrapnel,

times I walk into the TV & walk out of it to see my fears

reflected on other faces,

times I feel time wriggle from the grasp of my palms to

leave the hands wet with the memory of slippery things.

& the crimson images I capture in gloomy perspectives

come to me again & again & again.

But when they come as they have come even now, I enclose

myself in the daffodils sprouting from the graves here

& sing a song of resurrection.


Poem © Ayokunle Samuel Betiku

Image by Goran Horvat from Pixabay

Ayokunle Samuel Betiku
Ayokunle Samuel Betiku
Ayokunle Samuel Betiku is a Nigerian writer who sees his fingers as bridges between his heart and the world. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Eriata Orihbabor Poetry Prize (EOPP) and was also in the longlist of the 2019 ZI Prize for creative genius. He has been published in some anthologies including Parousia, Monus, BPPC, Libretto & elsewhere. He lives in the city of Ondo from where he writes.

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