Sodïq Oyèkànmí

drowned haibun

it was a monsoon season. there was tears flood. & anywhere could be an entry point as long as there was a raft. the polyrhythmic sound of the rain could pass for music—say jùjú or sákárà. there was a cavity in our canoe—the exact size of my mouth when i saw màámi—neck-deep—in the water—ah! olúwa gbàmí. depending on how far the music have travelled in the body, flood tears could become the lyrics spilling out from the eyes. if reflected on water—the shadows of people screaming & tapping their feet for help could be mistaken for a dance. drowned chorus. drowned chords. drowned hearts canoes. omi ò lẹ́sẹ̀ omi ńgbégi lọ. i pulled her into the canoe & everyone was swimming to safety—even a dog backed a chick. i pulled them into the canoe. ọjọ́ burúkú èṣù gb’omimu. our village—filled with enough water that could dampen 7.9 kilometres of the sahara for the growth of wisterias. olúwa, we didn’t kill no albatross. why send a flood without warning—without an ark? everywhere could have been an exit point—as long as there’s dryness on the horizon, but there was a cavity in our canoe—our hearts. our prayers—bloated & unanswered—

                                                                          a praying mantis splits
                                                                                           open God’s eyes


Sodïq Oyèkànmí is a poet, dramaturg and librarian. A 2022/23 Poetry Translation Centre (UK) UNDERTOW Fellow. He holds a B.A in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, he won the 2022 Lagos / London Poetry Competition. His works are published/ forthcoming in Agbowó, Lucent Dreaming, Longleaf Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, North Dakota Quarterly, Passages North, Poetry Wales, and Strange Horizons. He tweets @sodiqoyekan.