father is everything         but a good snake

charmer.  tell me,  do you see      only that

shiver    in the hands  and   not the restless

animal  steadied     into a hole?   in the fog

a wounded lamb limps.        half of the sun

cobwebbed  with clouds   by cave  spiders.

my tongue   is a small sponge    of vinegar.

and teeth, spittle-washed   stalagmite.   lip,

thick slab    sealing  the tomb  endowed to

to the son     in perpetuity. the lamb would

be un-swallowed  after three  days & three

nights   of indigestion.  the tomb’s  gizzard

dulled— the cud bruised    but alive! those

bitemarks are visible    from the cold nails.

like the lamb   i want      to herd    my own

flock.  but father shears   his wool with his

own teeth  and split   his hooves into claws.

the smoothness reveals a see-through wolf

throbbing beneath.  father rubs  honey  for

ointment and palm oil   for turning. the pro

-verb sets  the wolf  either free    or on fire.

like me, the lamb is the father   of the man.

O-Jeremiah Agbaakin

O-Jeremiah Agbaakin holds an LL. B degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems are recently published or forthcoming in Poet Lore, Pleiades, North Dakota Quarterly, Cordite, The Malahat Review, RATTLE, South Dakota Review, The South Carolina Review, West Branch, Poetry NorthWest, and Notre Dame Review among others. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and his manuscript “The root of the word babble is babel” was a finalist for the 2020 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He has served as editor/reader for Africa in Dialogue, PANK magazine, and Jalada Africa.