Portrait of a Girl as a Phoenix

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By Abdulafeez Olaitan

You see, my dad told this story first. Before my fingers learnt to crawl into a woman’s underwear. Before the world started calling boys brhoe. Before a pandemic escaped the palms of the Almighty. Before grief got hold of a boy & moulded him in its own image even all the poor innocent boy cared about was to collect salty liquid from his sister’s tear duct to fill the residual jars his mother’s tears couldn’t fill. What he collected to prepare a concoction made from fluids from a girl’s sore injury—a bruised skin her father never noticed till she became the danger which raged her in the first place. Somewhere south of here, there is a girl named Gladys who the world assumes to be crying wolf. I   wonder what becomes of a girl with thorns for hair & green for complexion or what becomes of a girl confusing fire for light  &  light for fire. I wonder what becomes of the girl’s body & from a bivy far away, I watch her ascend  into the night sky like angels. The winter solstice moon casts a shadow on her like the appended signature of a doctor on a death certificate & when I see her in a new light, mirth conquers the world.

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