i have always beaten my skin for you. dug my bones

for the fatness of foxes. but what do i get

from you? deprivation.


a thin solace—

too small to make a room for my house.


it is true you cannot boast of renewal. no.


until you are able to wear your country in

every place without shame.


my country is disabled.


mother reads my poems. she says. i am a

perpetual purpose.


obsessed. too obsessed with renewal.


maybe she is right. like importunity— i have over-worn like tide.

will the coast give way? beforei return to myself.


i am in a bus. faces. abidjan.


patriotic. &french.


laughter too. they like my english. not my skin.

they laugh. & needles. my body bleeds. a lass smells

my country from my hair. she touches it like rabies.


i crawl into my skin. anger seethes beneath.

it is in my language. i cannot tell it. they will laugh



ca va ici. i de



their laughter pushes me down. like

they are not black too.


i am angry that my country pushes me here. i am angry

thati cannot wear my country with pride—

that my country is disabled. i am angry that


i am another boy. away from home.



Ayoola Goodness


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