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Stephen Oladayo Oladokun: A Deep Shallow Tale



There is a deep shallow tale on my tongue, a bitter sweet in my lips.

I do not want to pen this on tablet of thorn, but on pages of amaryllis.

//father’s hen has swallowed a pin but on my neck sits the flint.//

the village river, today, has taken another count & grown fatter,

as I squatted to embrace shadow of neem & watch mountain kissing

the sky in romantic scenery, a vulture greeted from shying sunlight

amidst crooked branches. Spare my portion, sang a raven from dancing leaves,

an army of ants on naked road, marching to where my buttocks almost kissed

the earth to feed on daggling body above my head. //forest too, has taken

another count.// I held air in the tail, sucked venom from anus of wind &

licking dust. I paused at crossroads… the village river is thirsty

// for blood not water// & Malabar Almond rejoices for lack of children

in our huts. Have you seen where mothers eat their own placenta? But here…

we are lost souls at the edge of an ocean without life jacket & Our fathers

sit on our graves // where they bury us alive.// As the forest hungers

so the village river thirsts.






aroma of roasted corns

woke me from bamboo bed

birds chirped over my head

under cold hand of harmattan

& I beheld mountains extending

hands of fellowship to the sky


cry of a mortar & pestle deafened ears

from afar – a call to feast on mountain

& men armed for war – straight

to the wood to keep our race alive

& fresh wine, gulping from Iyamopo Hill

would be ready to cut my kinsmen’s throat

after the battle.


I heard egrets beating drum in

new horizon – they had travelled

through the edges of the world

singing praises of our ancestors

& when I opened my eyes,

I was cut like a mouse in Hunter’s trap

between teeth of sweet memories.


under the great baobab that gave me name

I beheld the sun beckoning on us to wash our

garment with black soap & erect our flag that

has long prostrated like agama on mountaintop


my throat choked & I gasped for words


I searched for my voice amidst

my kinsmen but… gone!


so, I’ve woven this poem gaging out

of my fading vein into a chaff

that wind may carry it to the highest heaven

& tell the world we are born of the sun & moon

& our black garments make no difference from

any white garment in blue sky.



Poems (c) Stephen Oladayo Oladokun

Image by cyanidekiss from Pixabay (modified)

Stephen Oladayo Oladokun
Stephen Oladayo Oladokun
Stephen Oladayo Oladokun is a writer, photographer and researcher from Nigeria whose works have appeared and forthcoming on Fly on the Wall Poetry, Pine Cone Review, The Shallow Tales Review, Fae Dreams Anthology, Corona Blue Anthology, Innseai Journal, My Woven Words, PEN Nigeria, Melbourne Culture Corner Review, Sledgehammer and elsewhere. He is a member of Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation in Minna Niger State, Nigeria. He is on Instagram as Oracle_Voice and on Facebook and Twitter as Oracle's Voice. You can also contact him via stephenoladayo45@gmail.com

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