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Olabimpe Adedamola: All the times I wished I was a sponge

All the times I wished I was a sponge

1. When my father died
and all my mother could become was
a hurricane. a whirlpool of anger.
a woman wearing blades for skin
daring anyone to come close
enough to hurt her again.
I know this because every time I
hugged her, I was left
bleeding but wanting more.
this is where my taste for self destruction
was birthed.

2. when my sister told me she
thought about flying from
the balcony of our four-storey
the same way you think about
the same way I see you swallow
pills and giggle.
the same way you lick the blood
off your skin after being with our mother.

3. when my grandmother’s body
almost surrendered to death
I wanted to run my hands over
her bony cheeks and slough the
sickness from her chest with my
palm. that is when I learned my love

4. when a boy I loved told me
about killing his mother
and I held his hand because
I only know how to love with my body,
not fearing the crimson aftermath
so I held this boy’s hand and
I let him kiss me in an empty
parking lot. I let him kiss me
in other places too.
I let him forget his grief on my skin.

5. when they asked if I
self-harmed because of the lines
on my skin.
no, those are just from the times
I hugged
my mother too hard.
I want to stop destroying myself
but I think I am in love with
the taste of rust every time I leave
someone who loves me.
the same way my father did when he

6. every single time I have
tried to end my life.
every time the urge to bleed flirts
with my thoughts.
but can a sponge soak up anything
other than another person’s mess?
can a sponge dare
to be its own salvation?


For our 14-year-old self

for the girl who taught us the meaning of the word shatter.
who taught us how to rearrange broken
pieces into art.
who salvaged the mess that we became
after him.
after the touching
the rising of the urges
the loss of control.

for the girl who thought she knew
what love was.
who tried to feed us affection by
giving our body to
whoever asked politely for it.
(pictures, corners on campus, men with attachment issues)
whoever worshipped this temple of sin.
(more pictures, unfamiliar houses, women who did not know how to love back)

for the girl who tried to make us
feel less dirty after him.
he used to be centre of our story
but she
scrubbed the shameful history out of us
or at least, she tried.

for the girl who taught us how to
wrap depression around
sea-green pills
that enabled us leave this
haunted amusement park
of a body.

for the girl who was angry

for the girl who learned first hand
how our mind can turn on us
can tear us apart
and then piece us together before dawn.
who learned how our body can
be our greatest enemy
with its constant demands
and its hatred
and its refusal to let go of things that have passed.

you made us into what we are now.
a force of a human.
a little deity.
a paradox filled with men and women
who do not recognize each other.
a mystery
that even god refuses to unravel.

thank you.


How to survive when the darkness becomes a fungus

– search for sad playlists on Sound cloud and listen to slowed down versions of songs you don’t know.

– roll a blunt. let the smoke marinate in your lungs before letting it out quietly. revel in the calm afterwards.

– send a text you will regret. hook up with someone you will hate a few hours later. have sex to your sad playlist.

– watch your hands shake as you descend from your high. listen as the panic uses your heart as a drum.

– steal a car. snap your mother in half. snort a fine white line. dance to sad songs. cry. rage. break things.

– have more sex. bury your head in everything but your own mind. hate yourself. hate the world. rage. rage. rage.

– devour sleeping pills. how can the world be on fire when you are asleep? how can you be eaten alive when you don’t even exist?

– wake with a burning throat and laugh in the face of death because the darkness did not make you rot this time.

– lean out the window when it starts to rain and catch some drops on your tongue. notice how they taste like hope.

– hope.

Poems (c) Olabimpe Adedamola
Photo by Camila Quintero Franco via Unsplash (modified)

Olabimpe Adedamola
Olabimpe Adedamola
Olabimpe Adedamola is a law student in Lagos, Nigeria. Her works have appeared and are forthcoming in Fiction Limbo, Nantygreens, Libretto Magazine, Sub-Saharan Magazine and Ngiga Review.


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