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The most beautiful thing I've ever felt is you, and I remain convinced that the most beautiful
thing I've ever felt is still you. The nectar of your nether lips reminds me of the full thickness of
the pineapple cream which is the taste of your tongue the night it captured me in its embrace
— beneath the bright lights of the milky moon spilling through the clouds.


The sunshine of your smile keeps me restless for days, your mood is like the rule of law which
possesses authority, you stole my heart with no permission. The sunshine of your smile
illuminates my existence. You're my perfect dream.


It's alright if you're chased by many women. I say it's alright. I won't object if you don't have
enough love to spare, but listen, don't keep me shielded in a world crocheted in facade. Don't
give me roses. Don't cling on to me in the darkness of the night. Don't whisper my name in the
after dark or beneath the sunshine of your smile. Go on, don't worry about me.





Your memory flaps across my mind, then wheels out of sight, in consciousness or
unconsciousness as if you were the ocean of my dream and my emotions are the sails


Somethings are destined to leave and not return like the caterpillar that is your love galloping
through the blankets of solitude. Adieu. I bid you adieu beloved. Just say no.

Lekki, 2021



As I stood on the rooftops of my home
Absorbing the view,
The world seems like a different place, beautiful
Almost anew_

The golden wild flowers
Writhing under the summer breeze
The green leaves and elephant eared grass
shielding the naked earth from
the burning heat of the sun
always calm and tranquil

Then it came,
fierce, urgent and calamity-furrowed
and I lost_

Beyond the golden wild flowers
shows another world plagued in terror
fire ablaze and glass shattered
as they turned their backs against one another
many scoffed and turned away
waves of questions fed with little answers

The catastrophe was prophesied
amid the chokes of fossil fuel
we burn, burn and burn

Then they rushed over to me and piped,
tell us sister, please tell us
the joy of living,
say to us what is Century XXI?

I inhaled the gentle dusts,
my brows raised to the sky
but too high was its place
so, I breathed the details in a sigh

The truth of Century XXI is,
I was like a strange plant blooming in the day and wilting at night,
a suicide note of humanity gifted for
I was something I despised, the badge of shame
which I knew was glued to this black skin

I shared embrace with all these in a sigh and said -
Century XXI is a time humanity yearns for

Tell us more sister,
What is life? What is freedom?
Tell us about equality's warmth embrace,
about the goodness of hearts
and the kindness that lies within

This time, I looked up to the sky and said -
I call them the most beautiful of things

The reality is -
In Century XXI, everything that left and did
not return is lifeless
like the tsunami of young people
who defiled my virgin tongue,
who taught me to speak
and say out loud "A luta Continua"
today makes a year
they rolled through the space between high-rises,
side-walks across the nation sing
the anthem of youths,
bow to the flag of valiant comrades
fed up with excuses and void promises
on placards were pleas for a future
banners scream of a nation in flames- burning to ashes
and seconds later
beneath the spilt milk of the moon
there was an ambush,
the bullets sneaked through the night
like sequins embedded themselves into the succulent blanket on their bodies
and after that-
the dark

Let us go with you sister, let's go home
All these we yearn to feel,
Take us home - I uttered

There is no home
but a land of humiliation
dissected with claws of inferiority
and fangs of docility

There is no home
but a land of hate and rejection
where tears are shed on it
petals of blood beautify it

There is no home,
there is no day, no night
but a long stretch of time,
a long stretch of time that is very short
and then - the end

That is Century XXI

1. A luta Continua: A Portuguese saying meaning "The struggle continues"

Lekki, 2021



It often happened at dinner.
The whistling/then came the blast/
followed by an expulsion of breath/and knowing that I have been spared/

but only just_
While somewhere/amid cries/and choking clouds of smokes/
there was a scrambling/
a barehanded digging/of pulling out debris/

what remained of a sister/
a brother/a grandmother
I wasn't at all surprised/when father said/

fate is what is beyond man's control/
In every book/everyone has a chapter/
we reincarnate/we come back again/

we are all characters/entertaining God
But then I wonder/if God was smiling/or sobbing
when our breath/was rinsed by death/
while we entertain.

Lekki, 2021

Mahbubat Kanyinsola Salahudeen is a genre-bending writer from South Western Nigeria who has a great interest in fictional prose and confessional poetry. Her works have featured in Spillwords magazine, Brittle Paper, Ice Lolly, Arts Lounge, SprinNG journal, Litround journal, Down in the Dirt, Aayo Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the winner of IHRAF 2021 Creators of Justice Literary Award and a IHRAF 2022 Youth Fellow.

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