Photographs from Lagos. Ladan Osman. (c) 2017

Photograph by Ladan Osman 

My thought was to sit and perhaps
in sitting, one might learn how to reach

across a bench where emptiness sits and
touch a woman’s skin.

In this touch, my hand is a voice, it lifts itself
like wind and touches the woman’s face.

The woman, my mother, turns. Her tongue is a hawk.
She cups my face in her hands, says, “I saw your

father last night. He came back as rain.”
Here, a family array themselves around a sandwich

like luminous apparels. A boy tickles his father, punctures
a hole from which Spanish laughter spills forth. The choral

trees purr. A leaf, progeny of air, falls, sails into wind, into light. It
leans, hesitates at the cliff edge of air, then surrenders to the fall,

to earth, loam—the soft mulch of dark from where it
will come back to us as rain or as the eyes of a child.


Read more poems by Gbenga Adesina in our Transitions issue, available on Okadabooks.