This man must be deaf o.
Alagbafo! Must I shout for you?
All these dirty clothes,
many Agbadas, Danshikis, Boubous, Abadas,
hooded tops from the main room;
crying for very clean wash. All you seem
to care about are bedsheets
and pillow cases from dark crevices
ladden with filth and gross like larceny!
Even for those you prefer to wash, there
you are with a sprained hand today,
painful knees tomorrow; and who knows?
Soft heart the next day? Mscheew! Was that
why you came to me for employment?
To waste my time? Remember I sacked that
bumbling hat-clad middle-aged guy
to take you on. Alagbafo, can you not speak?
Holding your tongue will not cut it, man!
You call me Alagbapo? Washer man kwo? Yo wa*.
And I heard your calls, loud and clear.
But I need a clear head to wash.
This no be ordinary wash fa.
If I wan wash am for sokoto*,
I have to wash am for Buba too!
Na to wash every thing, spotless, clean
To miss this opportunity na to die o.
To wash, you have to be carepul!
Bright, gross colors, not mixed with whites.
It takes time to do it. Na Ka ‘dan ka ‘dan* stylee I go use.
Otherwise… whites too will be quickly soiled.
Kana jin harshen*? Na softly, softly.
I will wash, and who will let?
These colors must bright be again.
Green go show, white go shine..
So, why hurry me; you fit hurry yourself?
Lo ba tan po*!
*Alagbafo – Yoruba for ‘Washman’
*Yo wa – Hausa for ‘Okay’.
*Sokoto – Pair of trousers
*Buba – Blouse like top, worn by both sexes.
*Ka ‘dan ka ‘dan – Hausa for ‘Small, small’
*Kana jin harshen? – Hausa for ‘Can you hear me?’
*Lo ba tan – Stalemate.
© 8th February 2017. Adewale Adeniji