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December 18, 2022

Bending My Tongue to Belong

My tongue bent towards foreign tongues

Drowning heritage behind phonetic waves.

Beating it into ashes of wild fires that left

Forest without trunks.

A language that accommodates infinity.

I swallowed my breath with languages

That painted my father’s hut without sunlight,

Created tombstones for my ancestral bones.

I once searched for its origin among bones

At Rua Do Valongo; their hollows hid no secret from me.

The language was chiseled into their blood.

Feast they ate upon waves, in hulls.

A lexicon that drowned them in itself,

A bottomless river.

Bones are colored same, but theirs was

Filled with a foreign song, twisted, broken,

Below shallow mound, dug with blunt tools.

The ocean didn't wash the languages away

From bones chained to the benthic, they

Retained it like fragments of unholy tabloids.


© the author

by Lucky Owolusi

Lucky Owolusi is from the Yoruba people, raised in southwestern Nigeria. He writes poetry, fiction, and tweets @mighty_scribe. His work has appeared in Last stanza, Diet Milk Magazine, and Zoetic Press, among others. You can find more of his work at

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