Poetry: levitate by Adedayo Agarau
In “levitate,” after profound line after profound line, we learn of the speaker’s connection to familial loss. Also, through the use of surreal yet serene prose poetry lines, we see the triumph of his family life: “she turned green grass into lemon tea.”
The body first learned of ground before it took cognizance of sky. Where do the birds go when it’s dark? I am asking because when at night, everything becomes a dream. My grandmother’s body rising from its grave with a song. My stillbirth sister knotting herself into my mother’s womb again. I am crawling back into the red wires that burnt my left hand. Where do we tuck the spirit when the Lord sends the soul on errands? I cast a shadow into the room where my father once loved my mother vigorously. It is from one of those dreams that the trees became hands holding me into the morning. From a distance, I could hear my mother calling, ade, ade ile ti mo, dide. To levitate, I wind a chorus out of my throat. In this chaotic love my grandmother has for me, she burnt me an oak & asked me to stay beside the fire. She turned green grass into lemon tea, says, kaabo, omo’mi.
Adedayo Agarau is the third-place winner of the Frontier Industry Prize, 2020. His chapbook, Origin of Names, was selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for New Generation African Poet (African Poetry Book Fund), 2020. He is the author of three chapbooks, For Boys Who Went & The Arrival of Rain and The Origin of Name. Adedayo was shortlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize in 2018, Runner up of the Sehvage Poetry Prize, 2019. Adedayo is the Editor for New International Voices at IceFloe Press and the Assistant Editor at Animal Heart Press. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Agbowo, Frontier Poetry, Glass Poetry, Mineral Lit, Perhappenned, Temz, Linden Avenue, Headway Lit, The Shore, and elsewhere. Adedayo curated and edited a newish poetry anthology by Nigerian poets, Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry. He is a Member of the Unserious Collective.