Litro #162: Literary Highlife | Whilst the pastor preached about hell, his son was texting girls

On the left wing of the church,
you would sit in rows with the other boys
dressed like a tidy supermarket shelf of tuna,
listening to the sermon about a version of Hell:

burning is Light’s work.
You joke to the other boys:
in Naija burning is light work.

Sometimes the pastor forgets the nature of his congregation
as if Sister Linda’s son, who would usually sit behind you,
isn’t lying in a ward, half a pound lighter in the liver after
he got caught slipping in Brixton.

The congregation know
burning like childhood photos.
The congregation know
the shattering it comes clothed in.

So whilst the pastor preached, you text Rachel on your 3310.
Peeking at your mother sitting on the other side of the church,
you are not met with her usual condemning glare. She sits
pretty like the sequins on her gele, facing the clock above

the pulpit and you know she is remembering Jos:
the man who cut the belly of a pregnant woman open
in the street during the riot, fetched the foetus out
and with the cord tied it on a pole to parade.

This is what God himself will have to account for;
allowing a man to have such an imagination.

As the sermon continues, only the hands of the clock is heard
ticking a chorus:

                        preach of heaven
                        we know of hell.

Caleb Femi

About Caleb Femi

Caleb Femi is the Young People's Laureate for London.

Caleb Femi is the Young People's Laureate for London.

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