Volume 31, Number 3

when a child describes his father’s house with a left hand

Multiple Dubai Companies begin rejecting Nigerian job applicants

My phone is a wishbone upside down in my hands;
My mouth sculptures a secret wish: a bird
Of another geography—

These days, silence accompanies me everywhere.
I am in a red cab; the driver speaks about my country;
Shame glues my tongue; my lips parts without a voice.

The foreigner woman whose son I teach
Shows me the door and distaste, without a word, I want to
Say something; she hushes me, her index finger
Dividing her lips; her little puppy barks back at me.
In the bus home, the message marker on my Whatsapp turns blue,
She does not reply; I send again, what do you think of me ma’am?

This is what happens when a child describes his
Father’s house with a left hand;
I am trekking the rest of the road home, every step I take,
I cannot withhold the weight of patriotism breaking beneath me.

—Ayoola Goodness