Poetry

Church: Ibadan

the dust has painted the walls brown,
complimenting the red roof better than
the white ever did.

we have tried to paint ourselves pure but sin has a way of marring.

the space is large,
empty,
you can hear the prayers of healing from last week.
the shouting never leaves.

this is a place of praise. a place of worship.
a place where souls meet their weekly quota of rejoicing.
this place is lonely.

a gang of pastors sit on the front row with their wives and children close by.
they take turns working the stage;
it’s performance. it’s ritual.

those in the back can only hear but still miss the Word
because babies figure themselves more important
than scripture. those in the back can’t hear.

i am in the front, my uncle is dancing on stage leading the brethren in jubilation.
this is the week before his wife leaves
because the church has eaten his body
and forgotten about us.

we sing. we dance. we pray.
we gossip. we fight. we chant.

fan-yogo carts congregate when service is over
but never worship with us. i suppose they understand
we must get hot from all that holy-ghost-fire tongue-speaking but
are wary of getting burnt themselves.

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