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Ifeoluwa Ayandele: For Boys on the Staircase of Heaven

For Boys on the Staircase of Heaven

These are for boys that climb the staircase
of heaven, combing heaven for the spirit
of their father. Their father taught them

how to fall in love with a city that doesn’t
remember & how to bend their bodies in
surrender to the gentle fingers of frailty

that trace a home on their bodies, planting
forget-me-not along its ridges. The boys’
bodies are a city of scars; the scars are images

of torn home carved into their skin as a map to
their past. Their past is woven in the cobweb of
cold war, for soldiers’ spray of bullets wrote the

meaning of love on their father’s chest. -& in
climbing the stairs of heaven, boys find new love
in the rainbow, riding on its bow to find a home.


Cows Graze on our Green Grasses

Cows graze on our green grasses
beside the shallow sea, cows stamp
& kill our green grains. Herdsmen sail

with guns as rods through our field, feeling filled
with furious fun. We speak with our tools
but machines call us fools, piercing through our ribs

some sleep, some lie, those who don’t sit under
their racking rods & we gnash our teeth like monsters.
My brothers kill our lamp darkness beclouds their mind

failure becomes our stamp for we are one of a kind
like birds, distinct in songs. Cows graze on, though
we cry but speechless for we have shrinking hearts

& dying spirit on the cross of rods: though our tunnel
is dark, we see the new lamp of love brighten
on our children’s children’s faces.


After You Left Your Shoes Filled with Yesterday’s Sand

Living in my own skin is a gift
your absence & distance pushed
into my body, for I had to watch

autumn flowers from my kitchen
lattice. – & this was after you left
your shoes filled with yesterday’s

sand at the front door, forgetting what
it means to forge your fingers around
the firm fire of family dinner table.

Or perhaps, I misused your absence &
distance for something else, like digging
six feet outside the kitchen window

& watching how you slipped into it amidst
the autumn wind, down with a question
marks of your departing shadow. But then,

your absence is a daughter leaving home
without a word, though leaving her shoes
filled with yesterday’s sand on the porch

& your distance is a lonely god, melting into oblivion,
for he had lived long in his own skin, forgetting
what autumn flowers means underneath his shoes.

Poems © Ifeoluwa Ayandele
Image by Ekkapop Sittiwantana from Pixabay

Ifeoluwa Ayandele
Ifeoluwa Ayandele
Ifeoluwa Ayandele is a Nigerian poet. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at Borderland: Texas Poetry Review, The Ilanot Review, Thimble Literary Journal, Tint Journal, Rattle, Verse Daily, Glass-Poetry, Pidgeonholes, MockingHeart Review, Rhythm and Bones and elsewhere. He has completed an MA in English (Literature) at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He lives in a room whose window faces a fence.

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