You could have a big dipper   

my father's pocket as the portrait of a tax collector by Flourish Joshua




— for tff

i am a voice crying out in the wilderness of my father's

pocket, making straight the way. help is a caged bird with

a new tweet in its throat or a free bird with

a stranded body. today, we do not know from

where help would come. all roads to my father's

pocket is a crab hole. talk about an inferno of

ghosts or something more gothic, we are children trapped

in the belly of the past: forward never, backward ever.

talk to your uncles & aunties, let them send you money.

that's the best way Bándélé know how to respond

to the children of his wife. on days when hunger is a bandit,

my father's pocket laugh like a tickled hyena or a bored goat.

let's not say his pocket is a hard-working burglar.

let's nicely call it a tax collector, hoping that one day,

when we least expect, it'd mend

the potholes in the roads of our throat.



Flourish Joshua (he/him) is a poet from Nigeria. A NaiWA poetry scholar and second runner-up of the 7th Ngozi Agbo Prize for Essay Writing. He's a BellaNaija Contributor, Managing Editor at NRB and on the editorial board at Frontier Poetry Journal. He tweets @fjspeaks.

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