Census | Gboyega Odubanjo | Granta

Census

Gboyega Odubanjo

good morning.

 

when were you born?

 

there are many names
registered here. how many
names do you have?

 

yes but how many?

 
 

three or four?

 
 

my names are in the records
for you to see.


you have to book an
appointment.


a snake got into our office. it
has eaten our records. when
they have retrieved my name
it can be sent to you.

don’t worry. the snake has
been dealt with.
 


how many names sir? should
we want to honour you. so that
we know how much stone is
needed.
 


and how many has god willed
for you?
 


what is your government name?
 
 
 


it would allow us to correctly
identify you.


should your people need you.
 


as you say. did you wake
well?


i was born in the afternoon.

 
 

well, thank god i am not
nameless.


i can’t say there are too
many and i can’t say there are
too few. it is god that gives.


is four too many? how many
have you?
so i can be sure.


can i see them now?

 

when may i come?

 
 
 
 
 
 

it is as god wills.

 
 
 
 
 

honour me as i am.
it is as god wills.


should one count names like
goats? is that not pride? will
those without not cuss me?


i have no government. all the
names i have seen have been
lists. all the lists are dead and
incomplete.



identify me for what?
i have not entered any lottery.



well. say some names and
eventually i will come.

Gboyega Odubanjo

Gboyega Odubanjo was born and raised in east London. He is the author of two poetry pamphlets: While I Yet Live and Aunty Uncle Poems. Odubanjo is one of the editors of the poetry magazine bath magg.

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