what tethers me to you are the umbilical cords/ spiral of our descent/ the rites of

passage/ sacred acres of our beginnings

what binds me/ are the incisions on our wrists/ panegyrics/ lyrics holding our

songs together/ holding us/ linking our ancestral dots

what tethers me is the root/ of the baobab tree at our back/ –yard/ the wattle that

props the mud/ the footprints on the sand/ & the feet that follow/ the night of

rain/ before a fierce noon in the field of corn

what binds me to you is the diacritics of our language/ the fanfare of flutes/ &

the bàtá drums weaving rhythms/ camwood/ cederwood/ firewood—/ a bowl of

àmàlà & ẹ̀fọ́ rírò

what ties me tightly to you/ is this wreath of words/ like the ẹ̀kú binds the spirit

of the masquerade/ to the earth…/ this ellipsis of endless songs 

spring from love


*Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

Sodïq Oyèkànmí
Sodïq Oyèkànmí is a poet, dramaturge and translator from Nigeria. A 2022/23 Poetry Translation Centre (UK) UNDERTOW Fellow. He is a recipient of the Unserious Collective Fellowship (2023) and won the Sevhage/ Hyginus Ekwuazi Poetry Prize (2023). His works are published/ forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, Lucent Dreaming, Modern Poetry in Translation, North Dakota Quarterly, Passages North, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Wales, and Uncanny Magazine. Find him on Twitter/X @sodiqoyekan