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  • Desola Olaleye

Tracing Etymologies


Untitled, 2011 © Njideka Akunyili Crosby

On cold, dark nights

We perform our ritual act of rubbing.

Doing with our skin what

Neanderthals did with stones;


Enveloping ourselves in an ungodly heat—

The type that consumes the kitchen with swiftness when frying plantain on a hot summer's day.

We find ourselves in the most captivating science class as we trace the etymologies of friction and energy together.


If there ever was a time we became doubtful and hopeless,

Tonight is the moment our souls (re)assume their roles

As faithful carriers of Sango’s fire.


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