Short Shorted / Odogbolu 1995

1 June 2016

All this is fact /

That Jebo had a knack for melodrama.
That his slight weight barely marked
That boarding school ground.
That he was teased for his fair complexion.
That he’d skim most crowds in search of me.
That his left arm crowned my shoulders so often
That some thought us more than good friends.
That we walked to dormitories after classes.
That we were gathered out in the cold courtyard.
That we were lectured on theft and property.
That Balla was nabbed with bags of stolen food.
That our knees knocked in our short shorts.
That a storm roared over the fields.

All this is feasible /

That Balla was Goliath to Jebo’s David.
That a visible tension lay between them.
That Balla ate rice laced with rocks.
That these were the building blocks of his muscles.
That once he picked a senior clean off the floor.
That we called him Spartacus, a hero to us.
That Balla wasn’t guilty of theft.
That he was too thick to master such things.
That the prefect chose the toughest canes.
That lashes flashed down with such force
That Balla could make no sound at all.
That Balla chose to make no sound.
That the prefect so hated his show of strength
That he broke two canes on Balla’s back.
That another ripped a cable off the wall.
That its sparks hugged air for a second.
That he touched this to Balla’s wet skin.
That Balla shook like a bird on fire.
That Jebo smiled when Balla screamed.
That Balla broke free, ran for a window.
That the search party never found him.

All this is fiction /

That I pulled Jebo’s arm off my shoulder.
That I joined those who taunted him.
That Balla lost all diction that night.
That when he landed, he ran for the mountains.
That the storm struck the last of our Titans.
That often when lighting strikes those fields
instead of thunder, something / someone screams.

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