Three years after our moving,

I return to this house of memory,

to bird bones of itinerant Pigeons

that wrought invasion through the

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mouth-open ceiling. Dust rests

everywhere like powdered talc

on my grandmother’s face.

On the wall, cracks sit

fittingly like a primary aesthetic,

exposing dark innards. I have

heard that a house dies when

deprived of human presence.

I imagined it waiting for us

to return —craving for the miracle

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of a voice. At the verandah,

I could see my mother dislodging

the intestines of alaran fish,

my sisters at work

invoking amala with trained limbs.

I lift an album of photographs

& amp; negotiate to a picture taken

on the stairs of this house of memory.

*This poem won third place in the 2020 Bloomsday Poetry Competition sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, Nigeria. More details here.