Olúwatamílọ́re Ọ̀shọ́


Abọ́sẹ̀dé is a journey back to self.

There are names we forget to hold in warm embrace.
In my grandfather’s mouth, Abọ́sẹ̀dé was 
a sweet song told in the language of my forefathers.

Language that crafts
stories into names:
Abọ́sẹ̀dé; she who is born on the eve of a new week.
Language that speaks of origin and distant lands, origin that I struggle

to identify with. I search for these origins in stories and legends
told in the deep tongue of my ancestors.

I want my tongue to dance with theirs to the juju beats of our land.
We sweeten the union/ every utterance a moan of allegiance.

I beg my tongue to carry the pride in the accented pronunciation of Abọ́sẹ̀dé,
to flow into rhythm with the high tilt of the letter ọ́ and the low hum of the letter é.

But my tongue’s first love spits out these tones in jealousy. This foreign bride brings
her accent of colonization and twists ọ́ into o and é into e.

In his life, Grandfather called me Abọ́sẹ̀dé. His old wizened voice whispered
this name in prayers,

prayers to guide me back home.


Olúwatamílọ́re Ọ̀shọ́ (Frontier XVII) is an emerging poet from Lagos, Nigeria. Her writings negotiate sensuality, familial dynamics, and identity. She tweets @Tamiilore_O.