Deceiver

Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 8:36pm

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Courtesy of Oladimeji Odunsi via Unsplash

Africa hears my name and calls me to herself

She doesn’t know Ayomide means Jacob

Or maybe she does and ignores this because 

I smell like Sunday afternoons filled with Nigerian yams

And fried egg seasoned with suya peppeh

Africa knows the difference between peppeh and pepper but

Kiana does not

Kiana smells like Sunday morning breakfasts filled with slow-cooked grits 

And shrimp seasoned with cayenne pepper

I see how Africa treats her because of this so I am

 

caught between a rock and a hard place

The rock is the dusty, pothole-ladden “highway” between Lagos and Abeokuta

The hard place is the breached levees in New Orleans 

And I wait in the middle wondering whose frustration I should carry

I am wary of the line between Africa and her descendants because

Africa has been born again

And the diaspora are just children of the slave woman

And the diaspora are just children of the same woman

 

Every day,

I find myself caught between a rock and a hard place

The rock is green and white and corrupt

The hard place is red and green and black and 

I wait in the middle wondering whose anger I should carry

I am wary of the line between African-American

But I don’t know if it is for connection or separation

Africa has been writhing with the pains of labor since her conception

And her first born have long been forgotten

And their language has long been forgotten

 

The pressure increases as I find myself caught between a rock and a hard place

The rock is my identity

Or the one I grew up with

The hard place is my destiny

Where I’ve been given a chance to grow

I don’t know whose purpose I should carry

I am wary of the line between Nigerian and Black

And I don’t know if I can keep double dutching much longer

Africa sees my name and calls me to herself

And knows I’m not her firstborn when she smells my clothes

But she blesses me anyway