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Semilore Kilaso: Two Poems

Nigerian Voices Today

Carouse

To the screech of disc and twirling lights they move:
grinding against each other,
smelling cheap cologne and alcohol,
fondling with night waves and breathing burnt air.

Here, another lays in bed
twitching eye from ceiling to floor
as the dark turns its back listening to his heart beat
as it moves to the tune of sleep.

Here in here is another
who knows the sound of the night
or perhaps
the growling in his stomach
and feverish chatter of strangers
as they sleep on bare concrete
covering themeselves with a duvet of darkness.

There is another:
a farmer who works night shift
burying men into her skin
in exchange for money
and a bite of her forbidden fruit.
We lie here like drunken men and watch as the darkness
makes love to the night before morning breaks.

My father is a business man.
He does business for other men and businesses.
His job it to help businesses save money by getting rid of people.

In fact he is a professional sacker, “performance analyst”
as he calls himself, but it is beyond that.

*

How we survived

My father breaks home for money.
If you are incompetent you lose your job,
go broke, and your wife leaves you.
Some children are out of school because of my father, but he doesn’t care.
Neither should I—that’s how he keeps us in school.

I think my brother who has chronic asthma is
nature’s way of punishing my father,
but is it his fault that he is so good at his job of hunting men
who are not good at their job.

My father is a professional sacker.
Sometimes I think he is not very good at his job of being a dad
but no one can sack a man at his job of being a dad.

So we embrace my father,
the struggling dad and hope he gets more money
by getting rid of people.

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