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Elisha Oluyemi

Elisha Oluyemi is a Yorùbá writer. Winner of the Brigitte Poirson Literature Prize for Short Story (2023) and the Ikenga Short Story Prize (2023), he was longlisted for the Isele Short Story Prize (2024). His writing is (forthcoming) in Strange Horizons, LOLWE, Mystery Tribune, Broken Antler, Mukana Press, Ghudsavar, Isele Magazine, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Sledgehammer and elsewhere. He has also contributed to forthcoming anthologies Mukana Anthology of African Writing (2024) and UNBOUND: Anthology of Nigerian Poets Under-40 (Griots Lounge, 2024). For fun and relaxation, Elisha learns Korean, listens to classical music and studies criminal minds. 

X / Twitter: @ylisha_cs

nobler gods than precious life

the day my people began to die,

they gathered into vessels the last drops of

the water in the land—the lives of many men,

and they crouched with their last strengths before the

sacred giant trees our

ancestors had planted before the birth of the fathers

of the fathers of the oldest of our fathers.

save our land, save our land, they prayed as they

prepared to feed the gods.

             can we just fell these trees?

             can we just save the water?

men gritted their teeth in response: no

& they cradled their chains in protest:

no, our lives are bound to these trees; they are life.

even in our deaths, we shall be blessed.

the day my people began to die, giant trees drank

             water blood.

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