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Waiting & Other Poems

Iyanuoluwa Adenle

Frida Asks If He Will Love Her On New Year’s Eve

When Frida Kahlo took her first solo trip abroad, Picasso gave her earrings, and the Louvre bought a painting. On returning home, she divorced her husband Diego Rivera, and painted “Self Portrait With Cropped Hair”.

on the eve of 1940

i imagine a restless Frida

in a satin slip

squared shoulders

once held her in a warm embrace

by the love of her life

her eyes catch the glare

of the shears as her hair

had become a noose

around the portrait of her ex-lover

cradling her scalp while he slept

what psalms does she say

as the mist in the skies clear


welcome a new morning?

i imagine the first chop


long enough to save face

unwrap a love morphing into grief and guilt

knuckles deaf from clutching the shears

so fierce

as more hair fell

clumped at her feet

shoulders solemnly rocking to the new lullaby of the new wind

what does she feel as the fireworks litter the skies to break in a new morning?



I once saw the fiery yellow sun

Grow red and tender

The limbs of the sunflowers

Closing in

Unsure of how to stay open as the day fell

Like I sometimes felt in the nook of your arms.

Yes, I finally got upset with myself

And blocked your number. But

Before then, I video-called you.

To show you the sight from that rooftop in Marina,

To tell you how the subtle violet colour in the sky clashed

With the dark yellow of the sun as it sets.

How the sullen nature of the clouds

made the scene a miracle to me.

In a previous draft of this poem, I wrote you

About this place I often wake from.

How cheesy! Oh silly me!

Looks like my one greatest love

Has solemnly returned, quiet.

On that video call, the small things

Of my life felt rapturable as I watched the crooked nature

Of your smile grow wide. This staying open

Like the worst hangover from a high.

I had to know I wasn’t alone. I had to know

If you would miss me when I am gone.


a poem where i become unhinged

i wanted to sit still in silence till the volume of voices in my head grew

leaving me at the mercy of my own body

to save myself or flee?

to sink or fly?

to scream or whisper?

what is this film of faux salvation on my wounds?

i want

i want

i want

i want i want so fucking much

it is hard to carefully place a hush finger on the collective voices in my head

i am not sick

i can’t be sick

my wants have turned my mouth into an open wound and my body into a chair rocking itself into oblivion

my hands is always outstretched and empty

on this day, i left my house in a different body. i came back in a body that wasn’t mine.

the body knows.

the body hides.

the body becomes a river with no banks.


Iyanuoluwa Adenle is a writer from Nigeria. Her works make a conscious attempt to explore the human conditions based on grief, loss, and love. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Cosmonauts Review, Blue Earth Review, 20.35 Africa, Olongo, Kissing Dynamite, Lolwe, Onejacar, Empty Mirror, African Writer, Kalahari Review, and elsewhere.



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