On The Bus To Ajah

( Ajah is a place in Lagos, Nigeria, where I live. After this encounter, which I still believe I did in fact share with my grandfather, even if he is a little bit dead, I now look forward to taking the bus. who knows what other adventures or people i’ll meet. Take the bus today and see if you find any inspiration.)

On the Bus To Ajah 

A man sits next to me on the bus to Ajah

I do not greet him

He is dark and grey

And decked out in Islam

When he looks at me he smiles

And I nod in embarrassment

He does not falter


I hold salaam at the tip of my tongue

held hostage by my bare shoulders

I hide my face behind my hair as it dances in the wind

He speaks

But only to ask if I have change

For his fare

I pay his fare


A man sits next to me on the bus to Ajah

He has no idea how profound he is

He doesn’t look it

He doesn’t sound it

But he feels like my grandfather


They’ve the same aura

Same beautiful charcoal skin


This man FEELS like my grandfather

And I think, wow!


Of all the days I could have met him

Of all the times he could have seen me smile

He chooses a time where I am

Completely my self

And this upsets me


A man sleeps next to me on the bus to Ajah

I watch him closely

I hope he dreams

Of granddaughters

Who love him

Granddaughters who are

Confident in Islam

Who have warm shoulders

Covered and protected

And scarves that dance in the wind


A man sleeps next to me

On the bus to Ajah

When he opens his eyes

He is just a man

Not my grandfather

Who has long since run out of life

Not a reflection of the me I hope to soon be

Not nostalgia

Not… anything

He is just a man


I wear my hair tied up in scarves

My shoulders beneath warm clothes

I am completely myself

This does not upset me

And so when …

When a man sits next to me

On the bus to Ajah

Dark and grey and decked out in Islam,

I greet him with a hearty