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Saudade | Okunlola Omolola

Saudade | Okunlola Omolola

Saudade | Okunlola Omolola Agbowo Art African Literary Art

noun •  /saʊˈdɑːdə/

A deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent thing or someone that one cares for while simultaneously having positive emotions towards the future. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never be had again.



I am smoke trapped in a jar, frozen
the air is fractured &
the wind is a farrago of glass prisons &
haunting illusions.
Silence breathes on my neck
I am choked by the juxtaposition of
forgetting & embracing,
remembering & burying.
The morning withers,
the flowers along the sidewalk groan in heat,
their ardency blinds me.


It is 2012 again. The city is pulsing. Your friends are on the roof, laughing, dancing to the stale air of smoke and crushed flowers. The harmattan has made me restless, in search of warmth and wet lips. I look beyond the dry gin on the table and crawl into your chest. I know you speak your mother’s language, but I taste the gin on your lips. Your mother’s lonely presses into me. I want to scream out her silence. I want to untangle her from you, I want to make you unlearn her existence. The night throbs. I watch you fold back into yourself. I watch you shiver and scream, the ache of lost years pounds a bullet into your chest. You don’t have enough warmth for both of us.


“You cannot bring me out of this, you cannot make a broken bird fly” you once whispered in the cathedral, between fits of gasps and the pastor’s sermon. We held each other like glue holds my torn sandals, like the Bible holds the congregation together. You said it feels like someone put you in a deep sleep, stuck you in a video player and put you on loop. You were stuck constantly looking at the other side, yearning to fit into history, an anomaly, a fervent anachronism. I could have sworn that nothing else existed, that everything was a magnanimous lie, except you.  

You’re s h i f t i n g, phasing in and out of my mind now. I forget how you look sometimes. There must be a glitch somewhere. The echoes of you, comforting, yet marginal. The night is a cacophony of distant drums and I feel you calling me, scratching a piece of you out of my memories. It is 2012 & I am in your bedroom once again, singing- “Let me give you life. Let me make you dance to victories of shed trauma”. I breathe. Panic wraps around my chest like vines.





in the       a     i      r, 

takes the form of rose-coloured dreams. The clouds gather over your head in a nimbus. Your mother’s linen drapes over your body like a finely carved coffin. There you are, bleeding again, calling death again. The TV blares in the background, echoing a litany of exorcisms. You are disintegrating, like fine dust. The ghost of your mother calls you home.  

I hold you in my arms till you melt
the stars whisper your eulogy
the moon engraves a scream
in my chest.


Okunlola Omolola Agbowo Art African Literary Art

Okunlola Omolola

Okunlola Omolola is an avid reader and a Nigerian writer of poetry and fiction born in Kwara State. She is passionate about mental health and sees writing as a problem-solving experience; a way for reality to shift to the perfect state. Okunlola loves sharwama and yellow. She is currently studying at Babcock University for a B.Sc. in Mass Communication.

This entry appeared in The Memory Issue

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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