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Sola Osofisan: Movements around the Unicorn


I fan your flame in the morning time.
Prayer propped reverently at the altar
of all dawning deities,
breathless, I call your name.

The name…
-like tendrils of adventurous smoke-
snakes into the haunted premises
of my steeled resolve.
East…I hurl your name.
West…I speak your fame.
North, South…
old-fashioned girl-woman,
diamond dust blinking in the
magnifying eye of clandestine caress,
your fingers kill me, Kokomma,
thrill me, fill me,
and I ask how you know all that you know…

There’s a succubus in my sleep,
unseen goddess of all wet dreams.
at the trembled whisper of your name
the sun takes a bow,
a dive,
a river running suddenly out of space.
Your voice, Kokomma,
the distant thundering of your nearby curves
swell the bonfire of my galloping desire.
I burn, Kokomma;
Like sparks I flare at the center point
of your fire.
I walk open-eyed through the calling doorway
into the damning temple of your arms,
lost in the far-flung tremble of your charms

your fame rings like God’s rage
through the vast reaches of everyplace,
winging in the caverns of my wayward heart,
swirling the dark void of my captivity,
filling my emptiness with the sheer fullness
of you…
Sex is a sun-scented song
for old-fashioned folks
and their new-passioned ways.
What sun do you worship, Kokomma?
What son?
I hold you in the eye of the world,
still do I feel it is the wind I hold?
I love you in the heart of the world,
Can one little man love you enough?



(For Ken Saro Wiwa, killed by the junta)

Ola ta a nwa,
the spit that flooded a continent.
The tempest you seeded in Ogoni has rippled the land.
Time taunts when strangers bear the burden of familiar swords.

Ola ta a nwa,
we unearthed it at the place of skulls,
by the tree of grief in a river of blood.
The living who pass pay homage to the carrion king.
We unearthed it at the place of bones.

Ash that defied the wind.
Dust that displaced a continent.
Ola ta a nwa,
armpits you tickled stirred demons of rage…
The soundless sulk of blameless graveyards.
Hear the plodding footfalls of first responders,
betrayed children,
offspring of secret wars on quietly colliding worlds.
The planet is bleeding…
And the carrion king stirs to mindless music
at the edge of a void,
his face limp like the tired folds of a fading star.
Bodyguards surround him like mercenaries,
experts in bodywork while you wait,
beggars at a banquet assaulting decorum,
feasting on the inner eye of all our futures,
crushing the misshapen bones of our fate.

Your scars were your own,
Your voice, many times your size,
amplified by that smokeless chimney,
quickened the crawl of promised suns;
unraveled the mystery of the three-legged stove.
Your voice came forth screaming of better men,
bitter men who sacrificed solemn breath
to thwart the recoil of the machine gun
where burning eyes mimic the sun.

Hear this Kenule,
your last sneeze ignited a volcano.
Listen to the seas sigh;
Even they see the sign…


(Ola ta a nwa – Yoruba for “the wealth we seek”)

Poems © Sola Osofisan
Image by Jacques Gaimard from Pixabay (modified)

Sola Osofisan
Sola Osofisan
Sola Osofisan is a writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and founder/editor-in-chief of His movies include 'Unbreakable' (2018, Screenwriter, Co-Producer), 'Over Her Dead Body' (2022, Screenwriter, Producer, Director). His award-winning radio play, OLD LETTERS, was produced and broadcast by the BBC. A three-time winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors national awards (prose and poetry), he is the author of DarkVisions (Malthouse), Darksongs, The Living & the Dead (Heinemann), Blood Will Call and The Simple Joys of her Final Days.

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