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Káyọ̀dé Ayobami

for the hustlers at the Lagos-Ìbàdàn express road

My older friend's flip-flop

knows the heartbeat of the 

highway. Cars, after purchasing 

his goods, leave smoke to fill his 

pocket in the stead of currency. 

He doesn't mind the potholes 

that keep harvesting his toenails 

untimely—this is how he makes 

sense of earnest endeavor. 

His quick feet after every car. 

His ears, paying attention to 

every honk. His red eyes, 

figuring out needy passengers. 

A rag-like flannel on his body, 

collecting flood of sweat every 

second, while the sun smiles 

away in mockery. He says:

Here in Ìbàdàn, an express 

lane & an office aren't oxymoronic.

This piece is from the first issue of Topograph. Consider subscribing to our newsletter or donating to support our work.

Káyọ̀dé is a Nigerian and an African literature enthusiast, interested in Academics and Yorùbá translation. His works have been published or are forthcoming in echelon, IceFloe Press, Olongo, Àtẹ́lẹwọ́, PoetrySangoỌta, Isele, the Ake Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He was shortlisted for the Ake Climate Change Poetry Prize (2022).

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