When girls speak about spirituality
our tongues slip into dirges for / Ọya Yemọja Yemaya Ayao Ọ̀ṣun Aje / & all other goddesses that have been led to an abyss. / our heads fall down as rain / our spirits befall their eloquence / & beauty / & splendor; / these deities / make us whole as poems / they make us cling to the solace our mothers found / decades ago in the abode of their / shrines & / sanctuaries. / They found their hearts in them until ships docked—running / searching for bodies / wanting a transmutation of some sort. /
when girls speak of spirituality / we speak about the forgotten / the children we bore and the ones we are yet to bear / the paths we have travelled and are yet to travel / the cages we sleep in. / We speak with the tongue of Oya / like a thunderstorm / like a fire serenading metal. / We speak for our future and posterity / We speak for our past that cascades over our breasts like drooping sunflowers.
How to grieve a country
country is a
woman. this country is an
abused woman; grieving,
looking for a river in this necropolis.
you begin with speaking
in her voice that feels like a sunrise,
let your skin hold her skin, mourn her
like you would a lover.
this country is a young
sunflower trailing the sun, waiting for its
glare, stretching for the sea. because
she is an absent
girl searching for home—kiss her with one.
Sing for her, lullabies.
then, you must proceed to pray…
pray for her. give her prayers that lack
despondence, “we pray that her new body
is safe / we pray that her old body returns
reminisce the light of each rose
planted for her father’s headstone &
the resilience of her mother—for the children
who bled under the moon.
maybe the soil is red because of all the blood used to water it.
body of a country is
a collage. this country is in
the body of another.
Poems © Funmilayo Obasa
Image by Ray Shrewsberry from Pixabay (modified)