to be read from bottom to top, with a line from Naomi Shihab Nye


then? That I am here. Still breathing, even if barely.
it means breathing in two countries. Is it betrayal

Perhaps it is true what the poet said of love: how
My mouth a sheath, love & betrayal both are swords.
I don’t. I know you expect me to think it a betrayal.

returned home. Please don’t ask me if I miss Nigeria.
I have been here for more than 10 years & I have not
it belong to? I ask. This loaf of bread, this jar of milk.

know which country to claim… Which country does
is a border I have to cross to get to the fridge. I don’t
between my father’s bedroom & my mother’s, there

to say love. Once, I belonged to one country. & now,
what I think about America. I know you expect me
& still I am American. But please refrain from asking

Ayokunle Falomo

Ayokunle Falomo is Nigerian, American, and the author of AFRICANAMERICAN’T (FlowerSong Press, 2022), two self-published collections and African, American (New Delta Review, 2019; selected by Selah Saterstrom as the winner of New Delta Review’s 8th annual chapbook contest). A recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and MacDowell, his work has been anthologized and published in print and online: The New York Times, Houston Public Media, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Texas Review, New England Review, Write About Now among others. He is currently a Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where he obtained his MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry.