I Am Working for You

Mobolaji Olawale


I once had a colleague at work who used to say
To everyone, I am working for you.
When he says this, he means he is utilizing
His self-proclaimed match-making skills
To find everyone a lover,
But up until I left there, He was never quite able
To create a spark between any two people.

Still, isn’t there some repressed truth
In his anthem?
The carpenter at my father’s uncompleted building
With two nails between his rows of teeth
Wields his hammer with so much force
To create a roof for my family to sit under
When it rains. Isn’t it in the nature of the world
And of we ourselves to work for each other?

Above, astronauts intrude the privacy
Of the unknown to explore potential excursion sites
For when we finally run out of amusement parks here.
Below, miners burgle the earth, make away
With properties to be moulded
Into the hands of a surgeon who splits
Wombs to deliver loads of joy.

The woman I love spends her days
Teaching students to protect their hands
From the corrosives in the lab
So that one day, those hands can
Tuck seeds into the soil,
Or hold out a ring in front of their lover.
She describes to the students, the effort put
By individual atoms in every chemical bond,
While hoping that they get the varied interpretations.
We save each other’s lives everyday;
Our acts of heroism only trivialised
By non-stop exchange of numbered papers
And bank alerts.


Mobolaji Olawale writes from Lagos, Nigeria. His works have appeared in Best New African Poets Anthology 2018 edition, New Orleans Review, Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper and elsewhere. He holds a medical degree and tweets from @theBolaji.



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