Nov/Dec 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 6 Poetry |

Cleft

crushed under the yoke of our heirloom settee, dresser, & cane chair from the old house. we were good colts and mules, wagging our horsetails in the harmattan & so tired that ghost exhaled from our lungs. our skin pale from this trade- wind. there was no time to make feast. instead, we warmed the house with our visible breath, mist against the blade of Louvre. father hung his father on the walls, sneaked the dead back with him. one portrait for each corner/stone, to bait the ghosts we’d raked away with our hooves. it was too early for the walls, but there they were, split like a lip, spilled, yet reluctant, as a secret. the crack spoke of no light, led no- where to the gold, except the grumpy scorpions & soldier ants who attacked our small cots & mats every night. i am sealing the walls with a spiderweb— in this poem for the sun to nest in. a dwelling in a dwelling. father keeps the crack open for the black egret—the animal spirit of the dead—for the son who has nowhere to r

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O-Jeremiah Agbaakin holds a law degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems are recently published/forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Guernica, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Poetry Northwest, RATTLE, Ruminate Magazine, West Branch, and elsewhere. A recipient of a Tin House scholarship, he placed second for the Grist Journal ProForma Contest, finalist for the Chad Walsh Chapbook Series (Beloit Poetry Journal), Black Warrior Review Contest, and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He resides in Oxford, Mississippi, where he is studying for his MFA at the University of Mississippi.

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Seila

By O-Jeremiah Agbaakin

crushed under the yoke of our heirloom settee, dresser, & cane chair from the old house. we were good colts and mules, wagging our horsetails in the harmattan & so […]

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