World Parent

— Gboyega Odubanjo

All the Nigerian aunties and uncles are holidaying in Dubai.
They’re eating only Nigerian food and talking only to their drivers.
They’re posing as they give thanks, WhatsApp’ing everybody.
Claim it’s the kind of home that doesn’t know their names, so can’t wish death.
Say they like it because it holds no notions of them.
For example, all Nigerians are liars who spin tales from imported fabrics.


It was a Nigerian man who first discovered Dubai.
The whole world in fact.
Came descending with pockets full of sand and all manner of the earthly.
Where there was water, took the sand, dashed it this way, that and, where it landed, stepped.
Continued in this fashion so as to form plain, plateau, et cetera.
To everything he named and added names that no-one would ever say.
Liked the sound of his own voice.
Prayed on land; his and of himself.
Imagined it profitable.
Dreamt of land as black as oil and dark-skinned sons.
Carved his name in tall letters everywhere, forgot how to spell it, improvised.
Stepped back, looked at his work, This, and was large and proud.


Seeing their son’s work, his parents think, This?
      For why?
Wonder if they bound him too much
      in freedom and comfort.
They think their son’s hands spoiled;
      soft and pencil-friendly.
They think, instead of lawyer, doctor,
Tell their friends of him,
      call him architect, do not say of what.

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