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POETRY: STAY IN YOUR HOUSE










In Lagos you don't talk to strangers
You do not answer when
Someone calls 'Sister!' or 'Brother'
By the roadside, in a park, in a market
Lest you become something strange-
Something else

Don't help that old woman pick her money from the floor
Or else you'll turn into a yam tuber
If you help that man pass his bus fare
He will make you disappear
Like magic

Don't give alms to beggars
They will surely transfer their infirmities to you
Because they are that powerful
The lame will walk home rejoicing, while 
You are left to wonder what suddenly happened
To your legs

If someone stops in their metal-on-tyres
To ask for directions
You'd better not answer them!
Next thing you have been TAKEN
And Liam Neeson won't come for you

In fact, if you like yourself
Just stay in your house
Don't answer any visitors
Don't come out

Seun Ajijala

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