"I am not polite ... only inarticulate" Safia Elhillo, Self-Portrait with Profanity.

O-Jeremiah Agbaakin

if language is offence then my mouth is a little
border town. my fangs stationed for a garrison.
my tongue jerks like the other half of a bruised
country. is it true the first men guarded the fruit
at all cost but tossed each other in the storm of
God's voice, to stay blameless. mostly, i want
to be undefended like the serpent. is to not be
defended not to be good? i swallow all your
fingers pointed across my way like a snake
and in this way become as big as big father

my thoughts of you are not well-behaved.
there're stalactites in the cave of my mouth,
calcifying the words you can almost feel my
anger. but you must know the portraits were
missing so the story is partial. mother hid us
like a prized idol, with her mother who oils
a different god. my Achilles tendon come from
the muscle of my lover's tongue licked by a lie

there're scales over my poems which is a good
sign for bartimaeus, grandmother's only son.
which means the stealth cannot haunt you
after you've bruised in the garden. to stay
afloat this poem must swallow all the men
alive. my father should last me another
night like a python swollen with satiation
bigger than its opening.

O-Jeremiah Agbaakin holds an LL. B from the University of Ibadan. His poems are forthcoming/published in Poetry Northwest, Notre Dame Review, Soundings East, Superstition Review, Diode, RATTLE, Temz Review, the Brooklyn Review, OBSIDIAN, Sierra Nevada Review, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Award. He is a poetry reader for PANK Magazine.
Find him on Twitter @muse_lord
Instagram @muselord

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