Photo credit: Oluwatomilola Boyinde.

I wake to my mother’s face

contorted in prayer.

she speaks all the names of my creator,

praising Her.

my mother’s tongue is a holy book parting in two,

one end loving me spoiled, the other

bringing me back to the face of God.

in my grandmother’s house,

I wake up to her kneeling for my other god,

she calls me,

asks me to stretch my right hand

as she says good morning to my creator,

& puts black powder on my palm,

whispers prayers over my head,

and asks me to lick it.

this is how I am able to swallow proverbs.


my mother and my grandmother

are one.

my mother wears a wrapper that I cling onto

each time I find myself slipping from home,

and my grandmother knows to teach my mother

how to strap me to her back.

says no granddaughter of hers will fall.

with their hands, they wield cutlasses,

clearing paths,

spreading maps of the world on their backs for me.



About the Writer:

Omotoyosi Salami is a seventeen-year-old poet living in and writing from Lagos, Nigeria.