by Abdulbaseet Yusuff

Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself” — Walt Whitman; Song of Myself, 51

Like Whitman, I contain multitudes too
but how many bodies can one body endure?

My body fascinates the anthropologist –
he wades through my diversity in the wide-eyed

wonder of a boy on his first algebra encounter.
Cartographers, too, have come to map me; to ascertain

the origin of the tributaries in constant arrival
at my heart? This heart of mine is confluence for conflict

I have considered pointing a paleontologist
to my ancestor’s grave to exhume. With all their dinosaur

jabber, who knows whether they would say
the fossil revealed a link to chameleons? I can’t

bear insult to heritage. But, honestly, the way I wear faces
with the ease of mirrors can rubbish the expertise

of any cosmetologist.

In fact, I am mirror itself. What stand have I not taken?
I have ample, graceful faces for every benefactor

But in the confidence of every night, I exfoliate.
With my knees folded to up to my chin,

I ask my heart: which of my thoughts throb true &
which of them are just echoes of the mob’s?

Abdulbaseet Yusuff is a Nigerian writer. His works appear or are forthcoming in Brittle Paper, Rattle, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, MoonPark Review, Kalahari Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry, and elsewhere. He’s on Twitter @bn_yusuff.


Photography by: Cameron Venti