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Porto Novo, 1983

Olaitan Humble

Should we seek blessings from the mouth

                of a cursing mother? We sink our head in

wack sacks; symbols of intolerance.

                Stranded as refugees—bane of our existence.

Every morning here opens with an invasion

                of fierce khakied men banging at our door.

We are made to see scenes of sins in their

                ugliest figure. Our fathers christened us at their

fathers' funeral then wonder why we turn

                into hardheaded lots. So, what if death is a

beautiful thing? We die & go into the ground.

                Our remains grow into flowers. It is only

the interval after dying that new things can

                                                                  sprout. Four decades:

in the bustles & hustles of the busy markets

                of Benin border & the unfriendly weather in

                                                                  Togo. Four decades:

in the journey through blues & red hues of

                big & small sacs with tracks of Biggie Smalls

                               blasting in the stereo. Four decades:

of tribulations. We were not ready to leave

                but leaving meant living & the leave left leaps

of lifting to our homeland. Home—still a

                battlefield but where we come from & where

we must return—is now a foreign land.

Olaitan Humble is an aviphile and pacifist who enjoys reading satire, and collecting quotations and astrophotos. He is a staff reader for Bandit Fiction, and poetry editor for The Lumiere Review. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his work appears in CP Quarterly, African Writers Review, Luna Luna Magazine, Rigorous Magazine, AGNG, NINSHAR Arts, and Doubleback Review, among others. IG/Twitter: @olaitanhumble.

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