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“On Memory” + “In A Discussion With My Shadow” by Anifowoshe Ibrahim

“On Memory” + “In A Discussion With My Shadow” by Anifowoshe Ibrahim

Maybe we do not notice 
That our heads are museums 
Full of dusty rooms where 
Things we forget take 
New shapes. And we take 
Tours in them, those silent rooms
Where we display all that molds us. 
Where we put in show glasses 
Dirty clothes;
Spilled tea;
Faded letters; 
Flooded faces; 
Broken smiles; 
And label them 
“Do not touch” 

In A Discussion With My Shadow

i follow around a painting. 
you follow around a silhouette. 
something in the way we 
are made needs order. 
needs a mat spread, splayed smoothly
in the direction of our prayers. 
needs a window pane projecting 
the streets our self-expressions. 

you mistake me for a painting. 
art is a reduction of memory. 
you mistake yourself for a silhouette, 
you are the congestion of a completeness. 
i seek to know:
at what point do we become one? 
at what point does a reflection become
the mirror? 

that’s a difficult one. 
everything is a reflection that
exist only in the existence of another. 
i precede you only in the existence of light. 
i self-destruct in over-glowing darkness. 
my essence is my reflection. 

sometimes, you outgrow me in my existence.
sometimes, you lift beyond my space. 
sometimes, you are more than what I am.
sometimes, you transcend your essence.
but i seek to know: 
What do you think of memories? 

boxes. A Memory is a noun. 
Nostalgia is a verb. 


i think memories are boxes. 
like you walk into the basement, a store, opening boxes,
finding a book, a shirt, a picture, and 
find 7 things you forgot about. 
and now that you found them, you stop
to think about what to do about them:
I could knit this sweater again? 
let me take these plates to the kitchen.
and you feel different from when you 
entered the basement. 
and you forget the reason you went there.

Anifowoshe Ibrahim is from Lagos, Nigeria. His works have been published in Kalahari Review, The African Writer, Agbowo, and The Republic.

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