Agarau’s debut collection is truly an exceptional one. He labors to ensure that his craft and language are suitable conveyors of the intricacies and complexities of Yoruba thought. His unapologetic tone is tempered by moments of disarming softness even as he renames his people over and over again in what amounts to an act of both resistance and kindness.Mahtem Shiferraw, from the preface
Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau
The priest and my mother’s faith are tender flowers.
I am a ground, a soil, a field blessed with dead birds.
I am a sinister wind in the east of this place.
My mother will rise to the empty window
and bless the road.
Everything nameless is as empty as a jar filled with silence,
as empty as the void upon the sea
on Sundays. I am seashells and coral,
wild winds brushing the bruises of its own knees.
My mother will fasten me into a prayer,
fasten me into the anguish boiling in her chest.
I am an empty room, a word in my ear
is as loud as the velocity of receding echoes.
I will someday turn into an open city
—a boy who finally knows that he is lost,
that he is this close to his grave,
or his grave is as empty as his mouth.
I will someday turn into a vase full of flowers.
But my mother says that the gods are waiting by the door.