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Infidel | Overcomer Ibiteye

Infidel | Overcomer Ibiteye

Overcomer Ibiteye | Infidel | Agbowo


“when you pass through the waters, I will be with you..” – Isaiah 43:2

and when you start sinking, I will sink with you.

                   because god is an elegy

                   that stays through thick

      and thin and slippery

& we are drowning parables:

deterrent to the next generation.

Someone overhead takes a snapshot of us

and I can assume that the first picture is that of a stream


             hundreds of us in white


& this is prophecy fulfilled.

For it is written that out of our bellies shall flow rivers

of living things:


                          sea crunches

                          fish teeth

and I can assume that the second picture is that

of a placard bearing keferi

in salty red.

When you ask us where the water comes from

we choke

& our throat cells fold into extinction

for we do not know how to tell you that our country was built

                           for this kind

                           of baptism.

How do we tell you the ancient chronicles

of a space designed

to gulp down flesh

and curve bodies into immortality?

Another flash

and I know this is the killer picture

that’ll make tomorrow’s headlines

     the shot zoomed to reveal

     tiny wooden crosses round our neck

                 crosses of an un-nailed Christ

                 fleeing the grave.

Say, we are a packet of boys refusing to burn in religion

we are pairs of feet tiptoeing around faith

scared that the walls of Jericho will fall on us.

Or say, we are a bundle of hearts held by lullabies of unbelief;

a colony of pagan tongues longing for revival.

In midair, we flap our hands helplessly & beckon on the faith

to see if it would deliver us

and allow us to scoop salvation from its collarbones

but every trial shivers us back into the water.

This faith turns its back on last-minute followers.     

All we want is a yellow ray shafting down these dark clouds

telling us it’s okay

to not believe


All we want is a trinity of truths

kissed from the lips of doubting Thomas.

But no.

All we get

is water

& an inheritance of bloated remains:

      deterrent to the next generation.

Overcomer Ibiteye

Overcomer Ibiteye is a Nigerian writer and an alumnus of the SprinNG Writing Fellowship. Her works have appeared in anthologies and magazines like Apex, Land Luck Review, Iskanchi, Scrawl Place and others. She’s a finalist of the African Writers Awards (2021), Calanthe Collective Prize (2022) and Spectrum poetry contest (2022).

Photo by Deepak Maurya on Unsplash

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