sọ́kà (a poem by Adedayo Agarau)

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at the forest of horror	we found the dried bones of people's 
children		 a web of forgotten 
clothes; the rustiness
of them, brown shorts
& baby diapers beside 
a dying woman, school uniforms & bags & plastic bottles 

& sandals
& a man whose wife does not recognize
the frame of his body

& a girl, 14, thin with guilt 
breastfeeding a child

in another room,
we found femurs 
the latitude of 
suffering 

tendons of dreams
roasted in calabashes,

blood in plastic containers	echoes raging like voices pleading for salvation 

people whose gods 
did not forsake 
were hacked
with cutlasses

by men
whose children
were hungry 
at home




Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau is a human nutritionist, documentary photographer, and author of two chapbooks, For Boys Who Went & The Arrival of Rain. Adedayo was shortlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize in 2018, Runner up of the Sehvage Poetry Prize, 2019. Adedayo is an Assistant Editor at Animal Heart Press, a Contributing Editor for Poetry at Barren Magazine and a Poetry reader at Feral. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Mineral Lit, Glass, Jalada Africa, Linden Avenue, and elsewhere. Adedayo was said to have curated and edited the biggest poetry anthology by Nigerian poets, Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry. His chapbook, Origin of Names, was selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for New Generation African Poet (African Poetry Book Fund), 2020.

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