i am still trying to convince my grandmother that
are you mad? is a harmless question.

my Yorùbá-English dictionary won’t tell me what
ekú’lé means or ekúàtàárò or ekú’jòkó.

there’s no contention here that OPG means ópògon.
but my English mind keeps translating to another acronym.

& now I’m looking up the internet for the Yorùbá word for acronym.
still much work to put into my enunciation;

i can’t seem to demystify the blindness to e in language
or see c’s exile from the ábd, or in the very least

unearth to màámi the phonics behind rendezvous.
reason why I’ll never attempt explaining to an English

man the difference between uum. ùúm. úm-ùm
& ùm-úùm or how igba takes

the shape of time. calabash. numerics
& transcends into garden-egg or something

that resembles a gourd. eventually, i lost
count of the multitudinous calligraphies

tisha’s koboko assumed on my spine
for proficiency in native tongue at ilé-ìwé.

the result. at 18
i’m learning my dialect afresh

from a foreign textbook. yet
Yorùbá in my vocals remain

a wounded lion. broken. dilapidated.
my enunciation a victim of too many tongues;

my mouth an abyss of things I dare not call impure.
somehow my conqueror’s expression thrives like a betrayal,

a realm of potholes begging to be concreted, if not tarred
by a tongue long made subsidiary

to the oesophagus of sea. crown. gods & everything
that entails rebellion against the radix of our existence.


Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash