the way hatred crawls from the strands

to the sole, in sync with the soft hum of

owls, empties me to a satisfaction.


it is dark here, and the night is competing

with my heart. whose version of darkness

is darker?


how dedicated i am to the moonlight to paw.

it is monstrous to leave this room by itself,

& its Sunday, all are to be left in servitude.


what does it feel like to crane history

to its origin? still, grief circles round the neck .

still, the child’s wail is just a form of expression.


though inside, time seizes to hurry the dusk

to dawn. how many nights for a single night?

a brush against the lapel & a generation


of blood floods the cloth to a covenant.

after all, the kind blades are the sharpest.

my body draws the triptych into a tale.



collaging the road into a body of wishes

after Kristin Chang


after my mother plucks the fruit

from the tree, i misspend my whole day


searching for my country

on tiny inscriptions on the exotic cloak


of darkness, a scene provoked

out of the eyes like machete raised


to pierce the sun. what a son makes

out of his shadows a mother must contribute,


out of darkness: she stretches into her bra cups

like a pendulum dragging its hold.


a memory at a time.

she lassoes a river to my skin


and i am in the church & my body

shelves disgust mid-prayer.


the dark night attracts

a candlelight, and my legs have grown


monster-like merely looking

at them on the wall. i wear my blood


on my wrists and this is treachery

for the bracelets i never wore.


the crushed shells scatter

on my face like an offering.


say the passage to my father

is too large for a boy


the size of memory.

say i fit my father into my fists


as he eases me into the cave’s

mouth. my tongue waves, and questions


water to its fault.

i wait for the road


to stomach me an apparition

breasted to the hills like a curse.




Wale Ayinla is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and editor. He is a Best of the Net Award nominee, and his works appear on Palette Poetry, Vagabond City, Kalahari Review, Expound, Brittle Paper, Prachya Review, FLAPPERHOUSE, Connotations Press, Vagabond City, The Rising Phoenix Review, The Temz Review, SOBER., and elsewhere. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter. He is the founding editor of Dwarts Magazine.


photo credit: stephanie roberts  Twitter   Instagram   SoundCloud