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I am the misfit lock to your keyhole

crafted meticulously, yet the ridges do not align

I bear the key to eternal happiness

but the combination she cannot find

The ancillary is catching and the keyhole is too small

I am Abiku, the screw that does not fit the ball


I do not stop turning the key

I torture a woman who wants nothing more than to hold me

She lies awake at night, with no one to drown the midnight cries

of a soldiers fighting in a pasture nearby

Without a fearful baby to tend to and read goodnight stories

She is given a plot of land to bury my bones and give only warnings


I am the unwritten baby books and empty bottles of milk

I keep haunting a woman who couldn’t deliver her silk

I am the decaying mobile and the abandoned crib

I am the one who keeps her enslaved to a baby that never will


I can hear your heartbeat from within a fruitless womb

Keeping time

as ticks do on a clock

It beats stronger as you walk up the church holding my small tomb

Bury me under the ground

but my presence will come soon

No form of sacrifice or libation will suffice,

Abiku is here, while transient, my impact is not light



Inspired by a book I read in high school and by a story I heard this week after interviewing a factory worker and documenting her narrative.