Two Poems by Ifeoluwa Ayandele

Cattura 2 by Mario Loprete

How Your Body Breaks Into Holy Communion Crumbs

From henceforth let no man trouble me:
for I bear in my body the marks of Lord Jesus

                                          —Galatians 6:17

When your body becomes a cathedral
for holy communion, your tongue will grow
into a souvenir of songs lost in the throat

of the priest. Your body will be placed
on an altar & marked for a communion
of remembrance for those whose spirits

jumped out of their bodies like a frog
out of water & croak into the deafness
of the night. You will bear the marks of loss,

a reminder of your grandfather laying-in-state,
& a bullet hole dug on his shoulder girdle. Your body
will be marked with monuments of how war wears

a jacket & takes a backseat, waiting for the beginning
of chaos. Later, your body will break into crumbs
of grief & the priest’s song would linger in your ears:

take, eat: this is my body, which is broken
for you.

The Family Tree

Some trees carry the memory of a whole nation
beneath its roots like I carry my grandfather’s
story of the civil war in the necklace he gifted me

before the bamboo was sawn for his coffin.
Some trees become a hiding place for spirits
& familiar ghosts peep into the world through trees’

window. I am a spirit child & I know the history
of my family tree. My ancestors carve their history
in woods & I’m found in the carvings of their history.

The carvings become maps showing the maze
of my being & how home is lost in the magic of maps.
I know the paths in the woods & I recognize my grandfather’s

voice leading me through the magic maze of memories,
inched in every falling leaf along the paths. I run
through the echoing voice to find my roots & I hear

trees talking in the language of my ancestors.
My grandfather’s voice is lost to the wave in the woods
but the window of the trees is beckoning me home.


Ifeoluwa Ayandele is from Tede, Nigeria. He is an MFA candidate in poetry at Florida State University. He is a Best of the Net nominee. Ayandele’s work is published or forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, The South Carolina Review, Stonecoast Review, Moon City Review, Blue River Review, Noctua Review, The McNeese Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Shift: A Journal of Literary Oddities, Cider Press Review, Harbor Review, Rattle, Verse Daily and elsewhere. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Mario Loprete reports that in 2020 “I worked exclusively on concrete sculptures. I take my own clothes, and use plaster, resin, and cement to transform them into artworks. My DNA and my memories remain cemented inside. These pieces transform the viewer into a postmodern archeologist who looks at them as if they were urban artifacts. I like to think that anyone who sees my sculptures will perceive the anguish, the vulnerability, and the fear that each of us has felt while facing the global problem of COVID-19. A layer of cement contains the clothes I wore during this grim period. Garments that survive COVID-19 are not unlike those that survived the catastrophic eruption of Pompeii two thousand years ago. They recount humankind’s encounter with the tragedy of broken lives and destroyed economies.”