Photo Credit: Anshu A. @anshu18 (unsplash)


I stretch my hand forward, finally decided to pick her call again. Ify has been calling all day saying all sort of things. I do not allow her to say more, “You can’t sit at home and turn me to your panic absorber. It’s irritating, please. No one is sick here.” She replies, sounding unsatisfied, “It’s alright. It was M. who told me the Principal has been sneezing and coughing,” she defends. “Please! Enjoy your stay at home,” I say as I ascend the staircase, step after step. “Hope he is not feeling feverish?” she ask again. I use the red button.

sudden sneeze
I mask my fear
of being infected

My Principal’s sneeze rings out again from his office. Last night, my sister-in-law had a running nose. Her nose almost wiped off her face. She was at the market in the day. The government had announced yesterday and today as the last day to go out before lockdown begins by tomorrow. I begin to imagine having difficulty to breath. I let out a forceful yawn to ease myself of the psychological choke. I walk into the Principal’s office. Standing, I place my hand on his desk. “Won’t it be wise to consider the working-from-home gizmo?” I stylishly put it to him. “It’s a nice idea, considering the atmosphere,” he murmurs. I raise my hand from his desk, lifts it towards my face, but hang it midway.

the excruciating itch
I cannot scratch


my new pleasantry

old friend
we exchange a leg shake

going up
with death toll
sanitizer price

the third sneeze
of a co-passenger
I adjust my seat

toiletries out of stock

social distancing
i resist the urge to hug
my crush


first rain . . .
removing the fresh mask
of a torpid snail

lockdown rain . . .
I adopt the daughter
of neighbour nurse

second rain —
the death toll overwhelms

millstone —
customers rubbing palms
at the bank

third rain —
the tap tap tap
of a sanitizer

packing another set
of withered blossoms —

Taofeek Ayeyemi, fondly called Aswagaawy, is a Nigerian lawyer and consummate writer with number of poems, haiku and NF to his name. As a haijin, his works have appeared in Acorn, Hedgerow, Fireflies’ Light, Akitsu Quarterly, Haibun Today, CHO, Modern Haiku, Human/Kind Journal, Prune Juice, Frogpond, Failed Haiku, Cattails, Eucalypt, Chrysanthemums, Seashores among others. He won the Outstanding Haiku Prize in the 2019 Soka Matsubara International Haiku Contest and Honorable Mention Prize in the 2019 Morioka International Haiku Contest.

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