BROKEN LENS - a Poem by Yusuf Olanrewaju

And through this car side mirror
something revealed my childhood,
how stream flowed down my face
from mum's seven lashes
for begging candy from my peers.

I heard the reverberation of the thunderstorm
from dad's slap, for
monetary gift from a stranger.
I was scared again about
a child rumored
to have turned yam
having collected ten naira
from that passerby.

I have always enjoyed
the tenacity of children
and I saw in the eyes of these broken children,
the way we tell ourselves of mother's warn against lies,
the way we remind dad
of the lollipop and unfinished stories,
the way we questioned;
why do moon follow us?
and tell our friends
about the silhouette
beneath our feet imitating us,
the way we found money on roadside from school
and pee on it to be disenchanted.

Is it strange to now imagine
children as thread-less kites
swaying in the sky?
Or thrusting in their palms
the hurting memory of mother's whip
in the name of alms giving,
or better to tell them of how roasted plantains
inherited their black blotches.

That sight of children begging
on the mercy of highway traffic
fed me with melancholy-flavour
of what to be painted on their faces canvas about their future,
and I began to imagine
what it felt like to view
the world through such broken lens.


Yusuf Olanrewaju is an instrument engineer. He writes on societal re-engineering and religion. And he likes to read Wole Soyinka, Tade Ipadeola, Christopher Okigbo, Femi Osundare, and Gabriel Bamigbose.