Again, Papa drags the TV remote from my little girl,
his grimace listing all the ills of our nowadays children—
true, such headiness didn’t exist even in my own time;
and once they start the territorial dance of Agama agama
I quickly zip my lips and run into the kitchen
before his festering eyes ask how she became a dictator.
Mia’s a swashbuckler—I feign cackles and cheer her CBeebies.
I don’t know why Papa likes cold wars. Maybe, he
envies her for having all the things he only read
about in his own childhood. But I don’t bother him
about the things he couldn’t give me in my childhood.
Papa pressed the remote the way Mia traps roaches. CNN.
COVID-19 has hit world trade. Nigeria would learn to drink
her crude oil, to stuff her lungs with greenhouse gases/
It’s a beautiful thing, you know, Papa announces. I shriek.
But people are dying, I say. He shakes his head
like a mantis. There’s less pollution now, you know. Silence.
Good walks with evil—and that’s a fact, you know.
I nod and Papa plays on: Our globetrotting politicians being
home with us is wonderful, you know. Silence. Think, son.
Papa talks the way Mama talked the night she died.
—April 1, 2020