Issue > Poetry
D.M. Aderibigbe

D.M. Aderibigbe

D.M. Aderibigbe, a 2014 graduate of the University of Lagos, is the author of In Praise of Our Absent Father, an APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series selection. He's the recipient of 2015 and 2016 honors and fellowships from Oristaglio Family Foundation, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Entrekin Foundation, Dickinson House and Boston University, where he's currently an MFA in Creative Writing candidate. His poems appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Ninth Letter, Prairie Schooner, Rattle and elsewhere.

Birth

            —After Dilruba Ahmed.


That day, my mother shouted
for her girl. I followed her voice
to the end of the house.  
My sweat-soaked mother stretched

my stiffened sister on a mat,
pouring a bottle of aporo,
squeezing a shrub of Ata re
into the girl's cold lips.

Many mothers, few fathers came
after the wounded voice

like ants after sugar. They held God's
neck with their lips: the ghost coughed.
Yes! My sister coughed: people are born
once, we know, but she was born twice.

Becoming My Mother's Son

The morning sun in the room,
lightened a secret that slipped
out of his drunken pocket.
My mother packed all of her devotion
into two travel bags; she strapped
my little sister to her back
with her gele, tightened her hand
around my wrist like a wristband.
My father fastened his fingers
around my other wrist,
they fought over my life:
he with punches,
my mother with tears.
"Mo fe ba moimi lo," I cried.
My father released my wrist.
I watched him fold the love
he had for me in his right hand,
never to unfold that hand again.

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