“A kò ní rí L’áburú”,
a kò ní rí L’áburú?
it’s a little too late for
that, don’t you think?
my father looks at me like
i have just shoved a lemon
down his throat, and my
mother places both hands first
on her breasts, then on her head.
“A kò ní rí L’áburú” 
it’s the tenth time she’s saying this,
but i have seen him:
he wears the face of my late
French teacher, monsieur Jack,
and when i first saw him,
i thought i was dead too.
that day, i drank a little
quantity of sniper.
i was only eleven years old
but i had been bullied
one time too much.
while i was rolling on the floor,
clutching my stomach in pain,
L’áburú came in.
he just walked in through the 
door, a camera around his neck,
a smile on his lips,
“smile for the camera” he said.
“why?” my mother asks,
my father seems to have gone
completely mute, stunned.
i can’t tell them why,
can’t tell them it was L’áburú.
who will believe me?
i hated monsieur Jack,
i was terrible at French
and i never did my homework.
“puff out your cheeks”
he used to say,
then he’d slap the air
out of my inflated cheeks,
and i had to say
“merci, monsieur Jack”,
but then he died.
the first time i cut myself,
L’áburú was there.
i used a new blade,
it wasn’t a very big cut,
but it made blood run in
curving lies down my thighs.
L’áburú came in just as
he had the first time,
“smile for the camera”
i cried.
“merci, monsieur”.
“Yejide” my mother’s hands
are folded in her lap now,
“talk to us”
“i’m sorry” i say,
and i really am,
it was all L’áburú idea.
he started giving me tasks,
L’áburú. very simple ones
at first: cut your finger,
cut your hair, and always,
always “smile for the camera”.
after this last one,
i heard him laugh.
it was a harsh, breaking
sound, like a radio
with poor reception,
it made me pause in surprise,
otherwise i would have…
“hmmn” my mother sighs and
twists her hands in her lap,
“we know you are sorry,
Yejide, but why?”
she breaks into a sob
“why did you try to
stab your father?”


Chide is a Nigerian student who loves to read psychological thrillers and daydream the impossible into reality in poetry. She loves taking long strolls just after dark and she has work forthcoming in Karma Comes Before The Magazine and the Creative Zine.