My Living Dead Father

Every time I see my father

I see Hell as a human.”


My body is a room.

I hanged my father’s portrait

On the wall of emotional traumas

around my heart.

My heart is the place,

I learnt how to make use of pain

as a recipe for excellence.

His portrait hurts me

every time I open and close my eyes.


I am curious / about the semantic meaning of / the word father.

Does father mean bad?

as in the aroma of

a six days old cadaver.

This is how I learned of his death:

I cannot perform a necropsy on him

because he is the aroma of an un-smelled sadness

anytime he drove home at night

by 10pm.


I lived with the stereotype

That the father is a symbol

For hard work

and an image of Sisyphus 

rolling the stone

so that his children could climb higher

but father is nothing like Sisyphus

but a stone

in the form of anxiety.


My father is a clown:

a man who goes to a funeral

to crack silly jokes.

Idowu Odeyemi

Idowu Odeyemi is a Nigerian poet, essayist and writer of fiction. He was shortlisted for 2018 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize and the 2018 Christopher Okigbo Interuniversity Poetry Festival. He is the winner of the 2018 Ekiti Future Awards Prize for Literature. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Tuck magazine, Kahalari review, Constellate journal, Praxis magazine, Opinion Nigeria among others.


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