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Babatimehin Asíwájú | Abàmí and the Village of Crying Witches

Abàmí and the Village of Crying Witches— a Political Satire

/at night/

hysterical laughter reverberates from within the mountains surrounding the village / & pierces the black silence spread gently over the night // every man is asleep / even the crickets do not claim the darkness / every man but abàmí / wide-eyed / observing the night in deep contemplation / in the corner of his eyes he catches a cat strolling by / adorned in the dúdú of the night / as camouflage // abàmí has read the signs / a calamity is soon to befall the village…

/at dawn/

travelling on the back of the cold morning wind / the news breaks / into every hut before daylight // àbíkú had bitten dust as a late night supper / slipping away quietly / returning to her ancestors while the village was somnolent // wailing clusters spot the village throughout / abàmí is under the orange tree in the market square mumbling to inanimates / “hypocrites…! idiots…! fools…! / why do these people feign ignorance? / did no one see àbíkú’s days of convalescence falling into every night /  when she grew wiry as virulent vampires drilled fangs deep down / & drew on her precious ebony blood for the longevity of their pockets…”

/at mid-day/

in the court of the one-eyed king / ifaleke sits face up / making divinations / the villagers encircle him / waiting to hear the oracle undo the gordian knot / “i saw a black cat yesterday…” a woman declared / “even the crickets stayed there chirping…” another said / murmurs start rising from within the cluster / everyone trying to give meaning to the signs / “i heard olábíisú, the village witch, cry out from the hills, last night…”  a man suddenly blurted / his statement causing a stir / as the murmurs grow into loud chattering / all the tell-tales are pointing in a single direction // ifaleke is done / he has found an answer in the ceiling / a choreographed silence descends on the court / “the witch that cried last night authored the misfortune…”

/at noon/

in the market square / olabiisu’s head rests on the slaughter slab / the executioner’s axe hanging over her // blind men watch abàmí’s dance in the market / “the gods are not to blame for àbíkú’s fate…!”  he announces to a deaf audience / “blame those who starved her till she bore the belly-bloated mannequins that festoon our roadsides / those who gouged her mouth & strangled her neck when she cried out // blame the people / who turned too blind / eyes to àbíkú’s privation / tell them her blood drips from their hands like eji òwúrọ̀ / like palm oil strolls down the hands of a child who soaks his yam in epo pupa…” / they laugh in derision / the village mad man is at it again // the executioner lifts his axe / & takes olabiisu’s head off in one sweep

/at dusk/

shouts of joy rend the air / herniates the swollen clouds / àbíkú is reborn / men roll out drums / women sing songs in glee / the dust dances and rises to the heavens // abàmí sits under the orange tree / mumbling & mumbling / “these seem all too familiar / I have seen it play to its denouement once // it’s déjà vu…”

/at night/

hysterical laughter pierces through the tender night / a black cat strolls by….


Poetry: Babatimehin Asíwájú

Image: Dominik Domno via Pixabay

Babatimehin Asíwájú
Babatimehin Asíwájú
Babatimehin Asíwájú, is a student of Civil Engineering at the University of Ibadan. An essayist, poet and dramatist, he writes on social issues, personal conflicts and on his minority-tribe identity. He is currently a member of The Poetic Collective, TPC. He has works in Brittle Paper, Synchronized Chaos and Moksha Review. He is a member of the prestigious literary and debating society, the Sultan Bello Hall LnD, University of Ibadan. You can find him on Twitter @headmasterofui


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