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Bulletproof: Two Poems by Babatunde Fagbayibo

Image: remixed


Swinging through
(singing Khumbaya!)
the single lane that curls
around the dark blue
labyrinth, you thought you’d
eventually find the place. Didn’t you?

But the place isn’t
what you imagined. Or do I
imagine your thoughts incorrectly?
I don’t think so. I know that I know
that I’m right.

I know what you want. I know that
through & through, yours isn’t
a bulletproof heart. I saw it, with
my mind, how the bullet pierced
your heart. It first dispersed, then
coalesced, then dispersed again.
It went ra-ta-ta-boom!

I saw it, I saw it. Believe me.
Or would you believe your wispy
heart over my optic mind? I hear
you shaking your head in
disagreement, but I know you’d
come around (or so I thought).

Now you retreat
hurriedly, to get another
bulletproof vest for your new

Why retreat in silence? Why
not announce to the world that
your throat is littered with the specks
of your old heart?  Oh, you
thought I couldn’t see with my mind?

No bulletproof vest can shield
your heart, none. But I know the
bullet repellent that would suit
you. But I also know that you won’t
like it. So I remain loudly silent.

I’d keep it to myself,
and painfully watch as you
ensconce yourself in that
rose plaited bed of deceit.



Nomvula wam,*
would you have acquiesced to
this matrimony if you knew
it was a triangular affair:
you, me and my destiny?

Sithandwa sam**,
what choice would
you have made had the unseen
played you a motion picture of
destiny’s domineering charge over
what we naively consider “us”?

when you married me
you also embraced my destiny. A
destiny entrapped between the
country of my skull and the country of
my stomach. My invisibly ubiquitous
destiny ensured the constant friction
between the skull and stomach.
We were definitely played by destiny.

It was never my intention to
permanently revert to the land of
the unseen. Nomvula wam, if I had
a choice, I’d tweak my destiny to
accommodate us, to not antagonise
your existence in my life. If the choice was mine,
I’d make supplications to my
obstinate destiny to let us be.

Nomvula wam, the suzerains of the
sky made the final decision. They
sided with my smooth talking destiny,
chose erasure over eternity. I cannot
tell you the exact moment when the
aircraft succumbed to red earth’s
gravitational pull. But you must
know that throughout the flight,
my heart was filled with the excitable
thought of delivering the good news.

Always smile my Nomvula. For that
which brings smile to your face is the good
news that my destiny has no control over.

*My Nomvula
**My love
Poems © Babatunde Fagbayibo
Image: remixed

Babatunde Fagbayibo
Babatunde Fagbayibo
Babatunde Fagbayibo is a poet and law teacher. His poems have appeared on platforms such as Kalahari Review, LitNet, Nigerians Talk Litmag, Jalada, Aerodrome, and Poetry Potion.

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