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Olatunde Osinaike


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What she wasn’t willing to share was how her tongue unearthed this
recipe, the one clearly with a footprint in the yams, but oh, how we always

found consolation in even our nervous systems replete with apt propaganda.
In the rude crescendo of defiance, a body will do anything to stay warm. Shiver.

Dance. Perspire. Umbrella a bonfire. And that is just a recap: the last shall be first
and that wasn’t lost on us or the hunger we were rearing so if given the right reason,

the roofs of our mouths would turn into surrogates, emblematic and expecting altogether,
after we’d heard the only thunder we knew how to welcome into the kitchen. What I can

tell you is I never really know when a benediction is set to begin. What I can tell you
is how very little is needed to induce a prayer on afternoons like these and that

sometime, years later, she finally told me of the white pepper she sprinkles
into my stomach. What I can tell you, as hoarse as a parent-in-awe,

is of the sobriety I swear I became from her brown oracle,
the smidgen thought of joy that rendered me

relative as an afterthought.


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Let’s talk about rejection, the fee at which we become
so brief we turn necessary as a batted eyelid. Let’s talk

about lasting for a bit longer than earth had planned.
What does it matter if the matters of our minds are subtle

and spectacular. What we know and unknow have been
secret for far too long. I, for one, have created a bucket list

out of tears I do not want to carry. I, for one, have become
a museum of worry and have spent Wednesday afternoons

empty. For as long as I can remember, I have wondered
if this dull black dart of marker on my right thumb was

a birthmark. Even if it was conclusive, I would not be sure
of the touch it takes to be wonderful. So let’s talk about this –

the uncertainty of me. With a thumb worthy and ridged enough
to grant me access past my own skeletons. With a thumb that has

flipped coins brittle and brash. With a thumb that has pinned skin
down in the name of victory. Opposable and with this thumb I have

also brushed water from crow-feet cheeks and fashioned
myself purposes so pure you’d need protection to appreciate.

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