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  • Desola Olaleye

Tracing Etymologies

Untitled, 2011 © Njideka Akunyili Crosby

On cold dark nights

we perform our ritual of rubbing.

Doing with our skin what

Neanderthals did with stones;

enveloping ourselves in an ungodly heat—

the type that consumes the kitchen

when frying plantain on a hot summer's day.

With our fingers,

we trace the origins of energy.

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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