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Inside Harbour Point, Lagos Island

We dance

like we are on fire.

Perhaps we are

in hell. Each one of us

circling the belly of a cauldron

the tip of our toes scalded

from fitful leaps off its floors.

And incoming north is a woman

staggering forward through the burning

hem of her dress; back bent over

by drumbeats, shoulders embellished

with gleaming ruffles; glitching

to the sting of bass strings, flaming

fingers pointing away and toward

her chest, her stomach, her head

and into her purse for a bundle of cash

that will shortly turn to ash, eyes entranced,

lips spellbound in a pout, surrendering

to a band of mad men belting her

name unsparingly, like an incantation.

And you ask yourself,

even in this place,

there is rejoicing?


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a Nigerian writer and editor. Her work draws from the well of Yoruba tradition, rooted in vibrant celebration of womanhood as whole and powerful. Through poetry, she aims to engage in conversations around gender, power, societal structures, and exclusion. Her work explores the experiences of women, their complex and multigenerational relationships with one another, and the patriarchy. In 2017, her poem ‘Girl’ was published in Aké Review. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Merky New Writers’ Prize, founded by Black British artist Stormzy and Penguin Random House. She is a part of the inaugural BORN::FREE writer's collective in London, UK. In recent times, she has begun working on her debut collection of poems, as well as long form narrative threading through familial experiences to give prose to the realities of young women navigating personhood and notions of freedom in cultures where autonomy is taboo. 

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