a sketch on living
I am first encased in a shell of water, silence & darkness.
Then the water breaks the silence into light.
I am pushed out of the crevice between two hills, & I sob my
feet into my first cry;
no one likes to be dragged from rest into hard labour,
no one wants to grow himself among weeds.
The roads here twitch outside my abode, waiting to tear me
into droplets of sweat & wet their grounds with them.
The sun shoves me into dark clouds every night &heavily
rains on me every day.
I dip blank hands into the soil & pull out hands covered with
callous graffiti drawn by thorns.
Life is a cycle of living & dying and of life & death.
Life is a wheel of several cycles driving us into one final death.
So at dusk, I ride the sun into days & into months & into years
& into the end.
In between the rides, I catch my breath in comely colours.
Someday, I will ride into the clouds & leave a rainbow behind
to tell my tale.
At the icu
Every space in this corner is a nest for eclipses.
A man wobbles behind his sweat.
A woman cuddles a child from tipping at the edge of the world.
Another woman hangs loosely from a thin strip of wind.
A girl sucks in a bucketful of air but still sinks.
A boy pumps in a bag of blood & still leaks.
I keep hearing screeching from the friction of bones.
Too many snapping threads here.
Too many plummeting bodies.
This place drains the world of colours.
It drains the eyes into shades of dark & grey.
It shades neon lights into hadean colours.
It forces us to pick our names from the remnants of thawed livers.
Light breaks what it falls on into two, including life,
& like flies, we scuttle for the bright side.
But this place forces us to embrace the night like fireflies.
It forces us to gulp down the shadows.
Yesterday, my tongue drowned in a goblet of wine.
Today, I dip my fingers into a mixture of fluid & darkness
to draw it out.
Ayokunle Samuel Betiku is a Nigerian writer who sees his fingers as bridges between his heart and the world. He was a finalist in the 2018 Eriata Orihbabor Poetry Prize (EOPP) & was among the longlist of the 2019 ZI Prize for creative genius. He has been published in a few anthologies including Parousia, MONUS & others. He lives in Ondo from where he writes.