For Josh


The day breaks on my lips like sour prayers,

sour agbalumo bleeding a thirsty tongue, and my

hope wails in wonder. It reminds me how much thirst fills the

Earth that it gulps many souls every day. Somewhere in this poem,

A boy stands still at the mouth of loss. Loss. His father is dead. Dead.

He went farther beyond reach, beyond the reach of the palms

Of a child’s heart wrestling against grief. Boy, crack the shadows

Towering your mind. Loss is not something you can lift with a

Breathtaking smile spreading over your face like poop smashed

Against the wall, it is not what to hide behind a crippled voice punctured

Beneath your throat by grief, yet you spit it out as roses. Loss is a cage.

A prison. It is the wages of love, what is fed to you by fate. Yet you flutter

Against the scents of smoked breeze whispering unsteadily between your

Broken wings. Boy, you’re more than the ease thumping in the devil’s smile

As it watches death take your father away, you’re more than the sombre answers

Leaking towards your prayers from god’s bearded mouth as you turn away from

Grief. You’re more than the stone sitting in your mind, you’re much, more, beyond

The prison of loss.



Wisdom Adediji, NGP xi, is a Nigerian genre-bending writer. His works have appeared in Icefloe Press, African Writer mag, and elsewhere. He studies Geography at the University of Ibadan and writes from there. He’s on Twitter @wisdomadediji and Instagram @wisdomadediji7.


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