“The Girl That Wears Fear On Her Skin” by Adedayo Agarau

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We do not know her name, her feet are scampering
eyes scrolling the pages of a city’s evening.
Her mother, a lake stuck in the house of an old ghost
that comes only on days too cold for the sun,
once told her to be a river, to journey through the lips
of other boys, like paths for snakes, lush, green, without her footprint.

This girl we do not know her name once drizzled through
the spaces between our fingers, like silt at the river bank,
into a seashell and hid her body in the broken remains of her mother’s heart.
She muttered a song that day, placed her lips on the lyrics
and retreated into silence.
This girl thinks running is only for fireflies,
she searches for love in every boy’s eyes
and when she sees it, he becomes a red dress before
an overfed bull. Her mother once lived with broken glass, one piece tore her skin,
another cut her bone, another punctured her heart, another
taught her to hold her lips and understand the mystery of loving a man
too broken to be a father, one piece cut the seal in her mouth
to teach this girl without a name how to run from the reign of tongues
that may mound a sandcastle on her body. Her mother says boys will
make places off her skin, her lips, tender butterflies nursing
a petal between her hip bones.

I am at the end of the city, playing a playlist of prayer
hanging my hopes on my black body, waiting
for the girl without a name to run into my path that I may ask,
“What is your name?
Where are you from?
Do you like me?”


Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau is from the uphill of Ijebu-Igbo and lives in the downside of Ibadan. Adedayo is a creative/documentary photographer, nutritionist and a poet. He won the Eriata Annual Poetry Competition, 2016. He has a chapbook forthcoming, titled For boys who left.