Weird Introspections upon Seeing the Portrait of Kunta

Our dead fathers roam this house
when we sleep, snoring
into the palm of fleeting oblivion,

their memories hang on the picture frames,
but their bodies float in the spaces above us,
I felt someone claw me in my sleep last night
Ahmed, I think it was your father’s father,

I think they are trying to tell us something,
maybe if we sleep less, snore less,
we will hear them, maybe they will warn us
of unforeseen battles heading our way,

sometimes I feel there is a war knocking
on our door, threatening to tear us down,
sometimes I feel the war is already inside of us
and we walk the earth as embodiments of conflicts

children of two cities—one borrowed, one deserted,
torn away from home, yet unable to leave its shores,
our fathers have the secrets to winning this war,
but they long died selling us to the white man,
may the dead never speak to the living.

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist and writer of fiction, hailing from Nigeria. His writings focus on themes of racism, colonialism and imperialism. He is the founder of SPRINNG Literary Movement. He was the 2016 recipient of the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize.