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Fiction

The Screaming Tree

My brother phoned me to explain the situation: about the vault, about the lack of a plaque. He caught me mid-morning, as I was under the influence of a bad night of sleep, and I heard him while resting my forehead on my hand; resting, then, the full weight of my head, of my exhausted […]

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Lace, Comb, Apple

There was nothing here but swirling grey fog, and me. The laces around my waist were cinched so tight I could hardly breathe. A comb threaded through my hair, and in my hands I held an apple. For the longest time I sat in the haze, listening to silence. Then, footsteps. Your face swam into […]

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The Other Side

My mail box is full of papa’s whisperings. Even now that I no longer need them, they are voices refusing to acknowledge my silence. Dear Daughter, I am trying this again. Sometimes I sit for hours, not knowing what to write. How to write it. I imagine your reaction. I write. I crumble. For each […]

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Divine in the House of Hunger

I When you come to Lagos from the heart of Osogbo, you know you’re going to have to work till your knuckles bleed, till the bones in your back go sour, if you want to survive in that jungle. You have been to Abuja, Benin, Ibadan, Ilesha; offering your services of impeccable housekeeping. Then Aunty […]

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Eating Bitterness

Every evening we tie Mama down. It’s my job to fold a clean rag for her to bite on, so she won’t hurt her tongue. Three folds, hot dog style. Now that I’m thirteen Baba even lets me place it between her teeth. Ray, four years younger, is too little to do anything except watch, […]

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The Spelunker’s Guide To Unreal Architecture

In time, the dedicated Spelunker will grow to instinctively recognize unreal architecture, senses picking up the minutiae that others miss. Wind coming from impossible directions; shadows cast at awkward angles; a dearth of wildlife; a strange doppler effect to sound, as though distance between source and listener stretched like taffy. Details and nothing more, but […]

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I was a girl once but I slipped

Every day Kalu Bala’s wife cries beside the river that must not be crossed. We are told, she is waiting. Waiting for Kalu Bala to swim up to the bank, his hands overflowing with fish that he must have caught in the waters. A deep fog settles over the river, an unnatural milky white substance […]

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Lipopire

It’s my lunch break and I’m standing outside Victoria’s Secret, looking at the models in the posters, looking at the mannequins, when it finds me for the first time. It comes up behind me. Sneaks up. Whispers right into my ear. It whispers, you don’t look like them. It whispers, you can’t wear those things. […]

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Welcome, Karate

Jock and the real estate agent crunched toward each other across the gravel lot. A gust of hot desert wind flattened Jock’s fleece sweater against her torso. The sweater was the most presentable item of clothing she’d shoved in her duffel two days ago and twenty degrees below this here and now. She waved, sleeve […]

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The Urn

I dusted the window panes and rolled up the curtains because Akwaugo was visiting. I first met her at the Lagos book festival. Someone in the crowd had stood up and asked a question on race in Africa, especially in black Africa. Did it exist? If we were all cleped ‘dark skinned’, was racism existent […]

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