Both

Uncle Rotimi reminded me on his lebara connection
“Don’t marry those oyinbo girls over there oh,
this is your home, this is where you belong.”

The bus conductor in Nairobi mistaking me for a Kikuyu
demanded, “eh, are you a white man
why can’t you speak your mother’s tongue?”

Sometimes, like a true Yoruba tribesman
I play with my h’s like
‘ospital and hoffice.

I still dobale before my elders,
an ancestral reflex.

Though I understand, my tongue is not loosed to speak
that’s why aunty Tolu teases me with “omo London“.

Yet, roadside suya, gala, pure water, garri and groundnut,
NEPA, noise, catapult, marbles, malaria, dust,
dance, anointing oil, all-night vigil, morning pledge, super eagles,
condensed milk, gizzard, pepper soup, Robb, Dettol baths
and endless summers – these are the ingredients of my childhood.

My harmattan birthday now comes wrapped in winter.
You know, I didn’t even flinch last snowfall,
now, I use SPF 50 when I visit the motherland.

When I’m asked,
“So, which are you – British or Nigerian?”
I say, “Both”.

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