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Photo credit: Garry Knight. Title; Age. Source: Flickr.

I stumble on an old man, returning from a cathedral.
His eyes are ropes that pull me into him,
urging me to see his existence from his vantage:
a mountain as high as the heels of his shoes.
He smiles at me but I am reminded of loss;
an opera – of bones,
dismembered affection,
and wails –
whose audience I am unworthy of,
for I know nothing of his kind of pain.

I can only imagine what this old man is;
a monument to burns and gashes,
a damaged recorder of the sounds of bullets kissing flesh,
a torn picture of paradise,
a proof, during juvenile arguments, that there was once a war here.

Do I drop a coin, or a tear? For the sins of my father, and his father before him?
Shall I seize my own breath? For this ample evidence of thoughtless wickedness?
I shall do the former, dropping both in repentant abundance, and go home.
With remorse inside my pen, I shall purge myself of generational bestialities,
becoming a proud bastard.




About the Author:

Ademola Enoch is a graduate of Project Management from the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He is an alumnus of the Ake Fiction Workshop and his stories have appeared on AfricanWriter and SynCityng. When the demons of literature let him be, he sings.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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