October 5, 2015 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION



Jumoke Verissimo



They say it is the season



They say it is the season

That sight is a curse to those with eyes

A time sigh speak drought into minds

And hope feels better in purdah


They say it is the season

When the world is battered

And all of our chatter is;

Flesh on blood

Blood and bones



I pick up desires, climb out of my heart, I leave

I go past where mothers turn into birds;

Chirp their aches, eat raw, festering silence


A place where women mimic cries of dead babies

To hear again the crackle before the crackers

Before it stills the village scream


A place where only gunned dreams, bombed hearts live long

Dressed with dates and memoirs of history’s pages

Where babies’ names play in the heads of mothers

For the grave has consumed the grounds from them


I pick up my desires and climb out of my heart. I leave.

For a place words are spoken into lathered tears

A place where men chew ache as morning greeting


I do not know if I will return as I go, but I leave.

I do not know where I go; I’m on my way there


They say it is the season

Stained sculpted water bite into nostrils; stop breath

Fear seize hold of legs, then turns flesh into rocks

For at this time, this season

Tears are the same everywhere men are different

Men are different everywhere they claw sameness

It is the time to trust God and crave the devil’s will


This season is hazy and the rains won’t stop.











Tomorrow when the day is over, I will

Watch you chew a bone with your gum

From morning until evening

You will pretend it is chewing gum

Then we will watch the moon together

My eyes will eat your mouth and catch words

Hidden under your tongue. Hush.


               They say the soul ripens in the moonlight

               But now that we live in the sunlight

               I choose for us to live in a perpetual twilight


Today we will not sit on the veranda, we’ll move

Under the tree and walk the vicinity with our nose

Smelling lonely footsteps of returning night workers

Whose shadows urge me to respect their privacy

I would not want to miss the wisdom of your sighs

For your many questions no longer come as words

They visit my heart and stalk for answers. Hush-Hush


              They say the body is a burden to the spirit

              Yet we have them begrudging a split

              I will stay and watch us become an eternal mist


Yesterday there was no story to tell, I loafed

For a mesh of your tongue and mine and hope

Remembering our first time was under a tree

But it would never taste again like then. That time

I saw you yearn for a lip to suck out your anxieties

Your itching gums wanted to find solace in them

Now my gum craves for teeth to help the itch. Hush.








Upon My Still Heaving Breasts I Swear



I have thawed into a yellow river

Facing a sleeping statue of Buddha

Upon my still heaving breasts I swear:

With a promise, to do something…

In this burning-sweet feel, vibrating my lap


The words don’t form

The cum is what comes


I can utter only these words

No. Come. Don’t stay.


I dream I am an inlet

Dousing fires of fear


Upon my still heaving breasts I swear:

Still trembling with depleted lust

Then a silence that wants more silence


There is desire shuffling my senses

I have a wall erected on my chest

So this is what it is to have a tang of lust

I wonder how to launder me for the day after


I am stroking the blood on the sheet

It is a wet river and a waver ticket


I am facing lust in calm, thinking,

Is this what makes one a woman?








Jumoke Verissimo

Jumoke Verissimo lives between Lagos and Ibadan, in Nigeria. She studied Literature-in-English at the Lagos State University. She is the author of two books, ‘I Am Memory(2008, DADA Books) and ‘The Birth of illusion‘ (2015, Fullpoint). She works as a copywriter, editor and researcher.


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