By Niyi Williams
& the first thing you see: a boy rolling paper
to poke the dawn
lighting the embers of his eyes
& inhaling the grace to face the hustle of the day
say, this ganja is a magic word
& it is how these boys know how
to become the fathers they never had
& in this, one excels the other
how far, omo ope!
fun mi ni eja kan nibeyen
can it be true that boys this age choose
to be the street boys you clutch your bags
the ones you look at with your
faces molded with disgust surprised that
a skinny bald boy already knows the art of
kissing fingers and puffing air?
under the tree,
two ten-year-old boys sit
covered in a fog of smoked pawpaw leaves
- how would you like to be remembered?
- remembered? no one even knows (or cares about) me, so…
- i know, but assuming, just assuming o, how would you like to be remembered?
- hmm…maybe as a good boy that could do no good
- as a boy abandoned by parents, people, and society
- that’s all; i don’t care about them since they don’t care about me; so that’s all
- what about you?
- the same: i want to be remembered the same, not be remembered at all
no one cares about us -and that’s fine
in the evening, in the shanties, in the city
small street boys gather to talk about
the future, whispering prayers
into lit magic wands, cackling
as hemp smoke flutter like
Niyi Williams is a Nigerian academic, writer, and poet. He is a poetry editor with The Augment Review and a SprinNG Writing Fellowship alumnus. He has works published on The African Writers, SerotoninPoetry, Punocracy, Fahamidan Journal, Nantygreens, The Quills, SprinNG, and elsewhere. Niyi holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Lagos.
He is currently working on his first collection of poetry.