‘Condor and the Mole’ (2011) © Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Egbon mi obinrin (1)


Ohun ti o nwa ni sokoto wa ninu sokoto re. (2)


I think about what you told me last night. 


The black holes between your cold, folded knuckles.  

The small spaces under your soles, blooming open 


during every windswept walk. 

You never could quite touch the ground.  


Any words I might have said stayed  

tucked under my tongue. 


I feared opening my mouth in case  

I drowned you in fermented speech. 


All I could do was cradle you in my cratered arms,  

mop up the tears with the back of my hand.  


Feeling our arms like snakes  

slithering into intestinal space.  


Sometimes silence is a dimple  

and it’s only seen through forced smiles.  


I can’t help but feel that this poem is… insufficient, 



It’s funny how we don’t look at all like each other.  

But it’s also bloody annoying because  


God knows I want to look like you.  

But then again it’s fine –  


I rejoice that I have my own face, my own rings,  

and my own skin with its revolving stars. 


You are still crying – great shuddering breaths – 

I try to absorb the aftershock and  


find myself crying too. In solidarity, you say.  

Wahala (3) sisters  


with our coat-chipped bones and gum-flesh sinews.  

They don’t know the strength it takes to be you.  


Your tears have dried up,  

your shirt rustling like feathers across the sea of my duvet.  


Go on – fly! Curve in burning loops,  

cut through air as if it meant nothing.  


I will be waving wildly from the shore,  

my arms, lunatic windmills that they are,  


turning in the gush of your wake.  

I can’t count all the times I’ve prayed  


for you to move like this, soaring at the crack of dawn.  

I don’t ask for much in return,  


Mountain View

New Year’s Wish


just one small look back. 

(1) Yoruba for ‘my older sister’ (2) Yoruba proverb: “What you are looking for in Sokoto [a state in Northern Nigeria] is in your sokoto [trousers].” It means something like: ‘what you are searching for far away is actually very close to you.’ (3) Yoruba for ‘trouble’