2 poems by Efe Ogufere

Ode to Time Lost in The City Without Butterflies

the irony in longing for streetlights on a bridge that dives

into a void & unending traffic lines, spiraling,

like red snakes on google maps, chasing their tails in futility.

angry commuters negotiate curses beneath their breaths &

urgency between their teeth, chewing absentmindedly.

the mantra, alaye jor jor jor

filters from unhinged doors of buses awash with yesterday’s color,

a splash of yellow with speckles of rust & grease.

driving in such proximity that metal swaps paint & handshakes

at the gaping holes where side mirrors used to sit.

waking up to a buzz, & we, bees in a city that never sleeps,

swarm to terminals to play a game of numbers & faces,

waiting for buses that’d convey us to our combs.

yearning for a city without butterflies,

where our eyes have never

held the sunrise or watched the sun— set.



in the manner of oddities, grief collects in strange places,

like fingertips—

picking wildflowers from the undergrowth

to adorn the ephemeral graves of roadkill.

on quieter days, longing suddens into hiccups

& other days— tremors, that only settle when a body is spent

on acts of moral turpitude.

the day her eyes exchanged their fireflies

for a forlorn stare

& their favorite star plotted its descent across the night sky

her fingers, tightly interwoven, squirrelled around

his heart & squeezed until it cracked.

& it is said that of all his bad decisions in life, three scores & three,

the worst was committing her memory to music, to scent,

to taste, to aventurine pendants, to kodak,

to road trips & vodka.

About the contributor

Efe Ogufere is a Nigerian poet working in Port Harcourt. His poems have appeared in Sediments Literary Review, The Kalahari Review, Afrikan Mbiu, Ibis Head Review and The Single Story Foundation Issue I. In 2016, he was long-listed for the RL Poetry Award (International Category). In 2017. His chapbook A Portrait of Violence drops in 2020.

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