Teniola Tonade

Body and Steel

That evening at Ojuelegba, a loaded container fell
from the bridge above, and crushed
the body of a Hausa merchant beyond recognition.

I also felt nothing
at the first telling by an excited friend
until I pictured the solid rain of steel falling

coming upon me like the proverbial crumbling
of the heavens: the tired trailer sighing, dropping
its burden on the road

below. A dumbbell fell on my material hand, and
(as you would expect) the pain was close to death.
In that instant I became Abu

the homeward wayfarer, whose last breath weighed
more than the heaviest gold he ever reckoned
on his fingertips.


Teniola TonadeTeniola Tonade teaches Philosophy at the University of Lagos. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Word Riot, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, Cleaver Magazine, Elsewhere Lit Mag‘s New African Poetry section, and More Than a Number: Poems and Prose for Baga, an anthology that addresses the menace of terrorism (particularly Boko Haram) in Nigeria. Teniola will be presenting a paper at the International Academic Forum’s Third European Conference on Ethics, Religion and Philosophy.


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