A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

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Taofeek Ayeyemi (Aswagaawy)
Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria

The Rite

I remember the stories of childhoods dashed by war—games of hide & seek suspended, flutes gathering dust. But that is another time, another place. In our land, the Elders found a way to fight looming terror. As a boy, I watched them slice a pig's flesh into sixteen pieces, leave the slices in a clay dish out in the compound. The animals will come tonight, they said. I wanted to witness that. In the night, I tiptoed to the window, waited. Soon an ehono approached, followed by a digbolugi. A snarl, a hiss. Just as they were about to collide, the roof rattled and shook as if about to crash around me. I looked up and then backward, fearing for my safety. Then I heard the trembling chirps of a cricket, no doubt fleeing a gecko's attack. It stopped; silence. I turned back to the window. The animals were gone, the dish empty, the compound at peace.

dark noon . . .
the chameleon watches
her mother's steps


ehono: a stray cat

digbolugi: stray dog