O-Jeremiah Agbaakin

anaesthesia for the Eve in my bloodline // or how to tame an earthworm

for auntie funmi

leave your beak behind today. let the early bird lie

peacefully in her grave. the ancestors domesticated God
& harem by castrating its tongue. a thick silence hangs

the house like a conversation you’d hear in a graveyard.
they pour their grudges into pestle moving inside

the throat of a mortar. on the news, a woman sheltered her
miscarriage in her womb and was blamed for killing

the small country as if she didn’t want to release the hostage.
before grandma died, she flayed her skin to show us

the temple of bones underneath; says the body is an organic
map shedding itself as the grave drew nearer. hollows

her share of the sun. what worms out of the rib is a shadow.
what worms out of the shadow is sorrow given speech,

a hydra unbraiding its heads. a flower sits on a fence, unfurls
its tiny arms to the sun & crumbles into a lump of shadow.

melt your knife, butcher. you can’t cut your way around a curse
to pluck the overripe fruit from her womb. before she died

in a fire auntie was already soft & combustible like a palm tree
overran by palm weevils, harmattan an accomplice. her body

slack from the cutting & sewing for every worm plucked inside her.
the youngest larva still intact and moist with milk dripping

from dead breasts; her man sealing his ribs with clay, clumsily packs
the children under his trembling wings in the waiting room,

the ward an old alchemy room. IV cords run to salt her dead sea
before she gave up ghost like a parting gift to nobody

in particular. her ghost shook our louvres, broke the strongest
blade. the first language the worm picks up is her babble. are

we all not children of babel?

O-Jeremiah Agbaakin holds an LL. B from the University of Ibadan. His poems are forthcoming/published in RATTLE, South Dakota Review, The South Carolina Review, Poetry Northwest, Notre Dame Review, Soundings East, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. He reads for PANK Magazine.