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Becoming a Crow: Two Poems by Oluwatoyosi Agbaakin



When they tell you:
That your skin speaks in Melanin
tell them how the sun dangles
on your equatorial neck.
The Sahara pants hard;
because the sky has iba
it wraps itself in blankets of clouds
as an abiku, you  twitch
under kindred spells.

Too long have I run away from shores
that bed hot coals under prodigal soles
Truly Africa, no hell can match you
But one love brings heaven to your home.
There’s a light I have denied in your nights
Your darkness glows as ebony wood.
A step to heaven starts from hades:
But first you must be a crow racing from foreign tides
back to where the earth finds its pulse
to find the foreskin of your humanity.


There’s plenty therapy
in my dirty herbs.
do not be offended
that this black pot brews
a broth of creamy, white pap.

Do not be shocked
that my blood is red;
and my sole is blonde.
the sun has stained my skin
black with melanin.
but my face is a widow
with an ebony sigh;
you will stumble upon gems
when you poke the humus deeper.

I am prey in the jungle of history
where antelopes frown at the tale
leaping from lips of a wild cat.

how shall I write my story?
when they ploughed the land
with their Imperial tongue;
and weeded my florid dialects
their tales are twisted tubers.
they have burnt my tongues
inside steamy, bubbling cauldrons
of white instructions.

But I too have my forte;
and when the day
is terrified by the night
my frame announces itself
with a shadow well differentiated
in the towering darkness;
I glow in the legend of Hercules
that strangulates the Nemean lion
on a path to home.

Oluwatoyosi Agbaakin
Oluwatoyosi Agbaakin
Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi Jeremiah, a Nigerian poet, studies law at the University of Ibadan. A four-time finalist of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest, he was also a finalist in the 2014 Christopher Okigbo Poetry contest and the PIN Poetry Challenge. He works have been published or are forthcoming in the Sentinel Quarterly, NIGMA Magazine, BPPC Anthology, The Kalahari Review, Sub-Saharan Magazine, NCL, Elsieisy, W. R. R, Kreative Diadem, etc.

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