The Child’s Other

By Tolu Oloruntoba

I cut the placenta tree at the stem
the child’s phantom other a weight falling

they’d asked me, do you want to cut the cord?

blood spraying the shielding palm

do you want to cut away spices pressed to
newborn mouths?

pressing significances into progeny

do you want to cut down farms on ritual
supply routes?

honey for the sweetness some call joy;
good fortune from an alligator pepper’s pods;
palm oil, antidote of antidotes, lubricant for the path; 
the kola-nut spat to ward evil off;
salt to season a life;
bitter kola to lengthen it;
and water, wey no get enemy

do you want to cut out night burials of arcane

the knowing where a placenta is planted,
the hiding it oneself; 
away from jealous potion makers, or its
owner, forever:
a child’s skeleton key

do you want to cut off the homeland?

Tolu Oloruntoba is the author of the poetry collection, The Junta of Happenstance, published by Palimpsest Press in Spring 2021. He lives in Surrey, British Columbia, in the territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, and Kwantlen First Nations.

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