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Threnody & Other Poems

Amina Akinola

Bamidele Or the Meaning of Names

And I was told that my birth happened after several births that refused to happen.

That my Father offered cowries to Olokun, the deity of water. My mother yearned for

me like a miracle in the mouth of the ocean. Then I became. I, miracle. I, a

blessing happening. Bamidele in Yoruba means "come home with me".

Which is to say my parents endured the wrath of abiku before I choose

to unravel. I don't know if I should hold it as a fallacy when my grandma said there's

a relationship between me and the sea. But, look at me, a lover of the sea. In its body, I am home.

Bamidele is a song out of my father's mouth, anytime I burrow into his heart. 'My grandmother said I

died five times

before holding the cord of the living. I don't accept this theory, but

ten years ago I was performing a ritual in a body of water. In my right hand was a

bunch of bananas and my other hand was filled with salt. I say I don't accept that

I was once a disappearing child in the eyes of my mother. But, there are

proofs plastered all over my body. & when I look at myself closely, there is a

laceration right below my eyes. when I stand before the mirror, fissures are shrunk

between my breasts. Lines weaved across my shoulders. But, what are these

supposed to be saying? I ask myself every day staring into the body of a reflector.

It says, Bamidele. A pilgrimage to self. Psalm in the mouth of my progenitor.



we are helplessly betrothed to memories. like death, we're indebted and inevitable. I mean, dementia is

not a prayer and madness is not a choice. & my heart is a colony wielding the wave that ensues at the

mention of my brother's name and the names of other boys slashed into the abs of death. As if I have

not spent half of my life chewing enough bodies, strangers creep into my dreams easily, and my sanity

shivers. When my brother said he was going to catch the train to liberty, I knew he was never gonna

have his way. Because the other time a boy tried to narrate his own story, his body was already in the

chest of the sea, half naked, half ripped off glory. In my country, a dying /dead boy is an adage for

others to run into the province of their father and masquerade into their sister's garments. &

sometimes I want to revive the national anthem because justice is dangling in the mouth of

uncertainty. Like a river, I am becoming scared of oceans that might run into us and wallow off our

identity in our own space. I am becoming unsure of places we picture as home. Because when birds are

going into the earth to become songs, there's no melody. When great narratives are dying from their

beginning, who will carry the rhythm of our pledge?


Amina Akinola, Frontiers VIII, is a creative writer and a lover of art and formality from Lagos Nigeria. Studied community health at the prestigious Lagos state college of health technology. She's an advocate for mental health and a child activist. Her works are up or forthcoming in e Shallow Tales Review, Kalahari Review, Eremite Poetry, Fiction Niche, Brittle Paper, IceFloe, Ngiga Review, Spillword Magazine,Woven Poetry, Shamsrumi, Lumiere, Poetry column NND and others. Her poem was shortlisted for the arise Africa Anthology contests 2020. Tweet @Akinola51



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