I think of a number I subtract
my siblings from it and divide
the difference by father’s absence Convert
this into an equation

Three times the number is the same
as when dust is added to it Take
a face into your hands and add it
to tomorrow growing in your marrows

Approximate your heartbeat
into significant figures of hummingbird
speaking your body into light Or
a heavy moon sighing behind you

Do you still own your fears Boy
the storm crashes on you
and your vision tastes like salt Now
you are a piece of anything dark


Wale Ayinla is a 20-year-old Nigerian writer and poet who writes from the ancient city of Abeokuta. His works appear or are forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Prachya Review, Dwarts, Expound, and others. His poem, “Little Boys are Large Exit Doors” was a finalist in the Kreative Diadem Poetry Prize, 2017. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter.