Becoming My Mother's Son


by D.M Aderibigbe

The morning sun in the room
lightened a secret that slipped
out of his drunken pocket.
My mother packed all of her devotion
into two travel bags; she strapped
my little sister to her back
with her gele, tightened her hand
around my wrist like a wristband.
My father fastened his fingers
around my other wrist,
and they fought over my life:
he with punches,
my mother with tears.
“Mo fe ba moimi lo,” I cried.
My father released my wrist.
I watched him fold the love
he had for me in his right hand,
never to unfold that hand again.


Poem first published in the Courtland Review and How the End First Showed (University of Wisconsin Press, 2018)

About the Author:

D.M. Aderibigbe’s debut book, How the End First Showed won the 2018 Brittingham Prize in Poetry and has just been published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Image by Claus Tom Christensen