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The Tragedy of Loss: Two Poems by Temitope Atunrase

Image: Mike Wilson via Unsplash (cropped)


“I smell loss on your skin
The type you got from your mother
Who got it from her own mother
A generation of women who carry loss

“the shame is an albatross that goes with you everywhere
you hide it
then it betrays you
Everyone in the room knows something died inside of you
That you are mourning
That you fought a war within and lost

“On Friday night”
In the quiet of your room
“You call your mother to hear her sugar glass voice
Maybe home will quiet you but
Her voice dizzies you even more
You hear the tired in it from fighting wars even her own mother had lost

You are scared cause every face in the crowd looks just like him
So, you haven’t seen the sun in 65 days
You touch the scar on your left shoulder,
then your left breast,
Down to your arm
The doctors counted 5 of them
He stabbed you the night a boy smiled at you at the party

You close your eyes
to the year before you held the pillow to his nose
And told everyone he died in his sleep
It was the year before the loss
The Summer beneath the trees
When boys threw rocks at girls
And they giggled with their skirts in the air

“When the only songs were, birds chirping
Or the ice cream truck approaching
When church was the meeting place of boys and girls
And Alleluia danced on lips
You cradle this memory
Rock it back and forth you
feel it in your bones you
taste it in your mouth
you smile the first time in years



We used to be two stars colliding
Birthing fireworks trajectorylike springboarding into a lover’s dance
You were light when I was covered in darkness of shame
When they came in twos, threes, demons
You held them in your palms like this
Hands stretched out
then killed them with your kindness
Loved me into submission
Till I was bare to the bones and dehiscent
Remember me soft
Like a river flowing gently
Sometimes melancholic, plagued
like a haunted house
Other times
sweet and yielding
Bare and dehiscent
Hold captive those moments my humanness sprung forth like a burst of light
And I was captivating
Pulling you in
like fire
Calling you to dance
In water flowing gently
Remember me soft
Remember me this way
Always my love

Poems © Temitope Atunrase
Image: Mike Wilson via Unsplash (cropped)

Temitope Atunrase
Temitope Atunrase
Temitope Atunrase lives in Lagos as a Logistics Manager by day and a closet Poet by night. She started writing Poetry at the age of 10 when she lost her mother and needed an outlet for the pain. Temitope occasionally performs at Open mic events across the city. She is working on her first chapbook.


  1. l like the flow in tragedy of loss it kept me captivated to the scribbled honey dripping diction pregnant lines….

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