[for ashabbbi, black-aqua]


the exit door is black. your body is black

too. the river flowing from your mother's back

is black. i, pretending to perfectly love you, am

a black bird thrown away in wild wind. home,

the bullet hole behind your father's head, is black.

your nipples are black. my mouth, a cathedral half-

rented like a family torn apart, like a body continually

splitting, like your broken necklace, is black.


the exit door is black. & what colour do we give the shadow

of a black girl. it is in your voice, it is in your voice, the aching.

once, i held your hand, it creaked like an ancient walkway, &

nothing else shakes us from the root like life does. your father's

songs ask if i was the chosen one. me? a flower growing out of

a wrist cut? the milk left in a dead cow's breast? a song that never

starts? i am just another broken palette recklessly spinning…


but you are enough. too enough to be asked if a boy would

mean happiness to you. sadness is black. & beautiful.


Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau is a Nigerian documentary photographer documenting the largest city in West Africa. He studies Human Nutrition & loves food like air.

Cover image by Tyler Brewington: closeup of mineral deposit in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.

Darla Mottram