Damilola Omotoyinbo, Frontier XIX, is a Nigerian Creative Writer. A Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers’ Residency. Damilola got the Lolwe Classes Scholarship and was longlisted for the 2022 African Writers Awards.

burnt offering

i write this poem to deck the neck of my pain

with pearls. remember, beauty can ensue

from shattered chinas. some days, i offer my pain

to the gods as a burnt offering. if they rain joy, 

i keep it in the pot of memories. a reminder

that happiness once came in torrents. i have tugged

at life’s mayhem, got a scale to weigh its

uncertainties  — now, i am the man slurping

whatever life bestows. blessings. anxieties. a gold-

smith assembling tools with scraps life tossed

my door. when i begin to chase shadows. when i ask

why life failed to give answers to my questions,

remind me, life is not my debtor. i have chosen

to be a man who clings to the thumb of grace,

who sings a ballad for his demons.

a brief history of burning

some tales survive 

time’s pruning. the dead

lay silent

in their graves. while their memories wander 

                                                      streets, haunting 

                                                                those who 

                                                                         knew 

them. your body became

a city. a valve of 

flesh 

                             housing 

s

                    t 

     o

                        r

     m

                             s. 

                       your tongue bridled. a cathedral of 

          oaths. a corridor 

to ancient paths. this worry smeared                

                                                     existence.

                                                              tiptoeing.

but no matter how far your voyage, the end 

leads to the beginning. and

in the beginning, 

you were made out of emptiness, 

fagot dreams that blossomed

into an orchard 

                                              of possibilities. you 

wish to unfurl time’s clenched

fist. invoke the 

world and like 

a slough, 

make it shed its 

    m

         e

           m

               o

                 r

                  i

                  e

                 s. 

but they call it the path

of the apostate. now, 

your heart

                        is an ember burning 

to 

                                                                           ash

and the world a synagogue of chaos

floating on a mass of water. the

                         shadow and light merged   

      into an ebb flowing through 

land of fantasies. like

                                              miracles awaiting

the reawakening of their mysteries. tales 

strewed into more tales. beings searching 

for their origin in the 

                        gaff

                                                            of their souls.

Contributor’s Bio

Damilola Omotoyinbo, Frontier XIX, is a Nigerian Creative Writer. A Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers’ Residency. Damilola got the Lolwe Classes Scholarship and was longlisted for 2022 African Writers Awards. She has work published or forthcoming on Brittle paper, Agbowó, Pepper Coast Lit, Afritondo, Better Than Starbucks, Praxis, Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, and elsewhere.  Damilola studied Biochemistry, you can say hi to her on IG @ damilola_omotoyinbo or Twitter @creative_riter.

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