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The Dog of Trouble

Outside the gates to our street
Mama Nini meets me
I am returning, she is departing
and looking at the dog
perched on my sleeve.

Looking, the way only old women do;
questioningly with only their eyes.

“Yes Ma”, I answer with words;
“yet another trip to the Vet Ma”.

She grins wryly then speaks
her words falling weightily
the way only old women’s words will;
“this dog of yours, Yemisi
when will his troubles cease?”.

“I’m tired Ma, I’m tired
he’s been sneaking out again
playing with dogs from the street
and returning home with fleas”.

So she sighs without a word
the way only old women love
I bid her goodbye
and shuffle to my door –
a weird, familiar confusion
settles on me.

Lately, we talk of my dog
and I’m always unsure
if we’re talking of my dog
or my husband, Badmus.

Tolu Akinyemi

Tolu Akinyemi is an award-winning Nigerian writer and poet. His often-humorous writings are known for their keen perspectives and wittily engaging dissections of humans’ lived experiences. He is the author of three books and currently lives in London, United Kingdom.

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