It is an unholy thing to look a ghost in the face.
Today, my grandfather breaks into my dream again,
I know it is him by the crooked shape of his shoulder.
Even in storybooks, most ghosts
stand backing their interlocutors,
so I pour some dry gin on the earth
in the manner the ancestors are greeted.
I bump into the darkness of my grandfather’s room
and face the eastern side of the wall,
I call him by the name of his animal
knowing fully well, if nothing at all
I owe him the debt of memory.
Salawu Olajide’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Glass, Salt Hill, New Orleans Review, Paragrammer, Tradition, Rattle, Saraba, Miracle Monocle, Forbidden Peak Press, Soul-Lit and so on. He is also the author of Preface for Leaving Homeland published under African Poetry Book Fund series edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. He lives in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He can be found on Twitter @ohun_meje.,
This entry appeared in The Memory Issue