i'm looking out of my window, towards the sun ripening 
& sinking steadily into the far horizon, the city stretched underneath 
& shimmering in rose. there is always fear attached 
to this ritual, fear for the hawks grazing the sky with wings, 
of all that could possibly go wrong when what canopies us
is a launcher. listen, every possible entrance into this poem is teethed,
say babies aging faster than their teeth inside the womb 
of a sooty earth. say my friends embracing silence after another war 
spoke into their bodies. the passing wind whispers through
the trees here, whispers through a radio on a balcony till it croons out
like a widow’s ghost. what is said by the wind glazes 
the orbs in our heads with sunset. what is shed by the orbs proves this 
city is a waning light in the hands of carnages & pogroms. 
our polities: unscathed birds perched on mountains nodding away 
every ruin we gather into runes to build a conscience. 
i think now of how the night will fall again in sync with blankets 
forced over the children’s groaning bellies. i think now 
of morning, when the children will leave their homes for school 
walls nearly made of air, their bodies sagging beneath robes.
i think now of tutors yawning their own famishment into the boards,
barely able to teach allegiance as a proper verb.


Ayokunle Samuel Betiku writes from the city of Ondo, South West Nigeria. He is a Young Writers and Creatives’ Award Fellow. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies, including Kalahari Review, African Writer, Ngiga Review, Praxis, Libretto, Kreative Diadem, Lunaris Review, Pandemic Publications, Rough Cut Press, The Offing & elsewhere.

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