‘At the Lake’, by Tolase Ajibola


Image by JiPs☆STiCk. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

These roads open like plants open leaves to light,
swaying this or that way to adjust their position

as if each stoma were an aperture filtering light to hold us
in soft colours like the art that we are. If we travel further into green

perhaps we will arrive at the lake with surprise, mirroring us,
revealing we are never who we think we are. Even in pictures,

your smile, the gap between your teeth are imaginations of light.
In the city below the lake, a butterfly carries pollen across an open field

to the cemetery where your name is a stone. Father,
you said the city is a word slipping from its language.

I imagine the geometry of language, the shape of air
that forms the word you say could mean us —ethos,

it is this you say is the difference between man and stone,
the lake and the city below it.

I want to build a vocabulary of waters, perhaps you will be there
as a word that found its shape in water.

This piece appears in full in The Lifted Brow #33. Get your copy here.

Tolase Ajibola works as an Editor at Winepress — a publishing firm in Ibadan, Nigeria where he lives with his poet friend Fred, a cat.