RECLAIMING HER TIME

I couldn’t remember the last time I went to grandma’s house, No 5 Nwaniba road had become sort of a taboo after it happened. Faint memories still linger though, my cousins and I dancing awilolokoba at the backyard with our hands on her big calabash and our buttocks out, twerking is what they call it these days, we were ahead of our time. I remember her cats rubbing against my leg while we ate at the dining table, she’d tell us ‘don’t give them fish, that’s all they want’ in her raspy voice and thick AkwaIbom accent, cases of theft had been pinned on them and we went scout free. But that’s all I remember and as we watched her dwindle away, I wondered if that’s all she remembered too.
Grandma insisted on living alone in her house, she had raised her boys here, loved and had been at the mercy of her husband here and she joked that she’d draw her last breathe here. So when news got to us that grandma had been found lying on the kitchen floor numb, everyone shared the blame. Grandma had suffered from a stroke, If only we could have been there? Why did we ever leave her all on her own? Why was she so stubborn? But the truth was there was nothing we could do then and nothing we could do after, but we tried.
‘Grandma is sick’ we were told and she’ll be staying with us from now. I didn’t realise a lot of people would be staying with us from ‘now on’ Uncle Akpan and his kids came all the way from America, aunty Emem and hers too, it was a family reunion we rarely ever had stained with ‘Don’t give them fish’ and we’d stop and stare, the doctors said this was her remembering. Grandma had been probed, poked and damn right assaulted all in the name of diagnosing her, I wished they had let her be, let her wonder, re-know, re-member, re-claim her home, her boys she had raised, her grandchildren she had loved, me.
Grandma was laid to rest today, no 5 Nwaniba road will remain home to her even in her death. I haven’t cried yet, I will not cry ever. This was better, her gone than me watching her forget us. Dementia had ripped her of her, distorted her brain and robbed her of memories she had held dear and when she did remember, in those fleeting seconds, it had made off with her words. Strong and agile grandma had been reduced to feeble, bedridden stranger. Glorious exit, nothing glorious about the way she died, nothing glorious about us both forgetting.
I’ll be staying back when all this is over. Dusting old cupboard she was once dusted, going through books she never read and pictures she’d forgotten. Retracing her steps in her home, reclaiming her time for both of us.

 

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SIERR A LeONE: This was home

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More than 3,000 people lost their homes in the mudslide in Sierra Leone

This was ours
Our legs climbed sugar loaf mountain
Our hands fell the trees
Whose trunks became frame to our homes.

This was ours
Our land welcomed strangers
Fell more trees, they made home
This became theirs, ours
We became neighbors, friends, family

This was home
They sent us out, we returned
Logic falling on deaf ears
Prodigal sons; to home we came
This was us

But the rains came too
Three days we braved it
Resilient, our kids danced in it
Three days the rains fell
This was just life

Then it crept up on us
Unearthing foundations to our shaky homes
The hills gave way, ejecting stones, shedding her layers, destroying home
This is real

We drowned in our sleeps
The mud filled our lungs, boulders crushed our bones
Burying mothers, fathers, babies
Separating families
This is real

Rescue mission turned recovery
We lay to rest a thousand of ours
Childless mothers, fatherless sons, hopeless ones we’ve become
We take shelter and mourn our loss
This was home, we thought we belonged

Workers are digging graves at the Paloko cemetery [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

Writers note: my heart goes out to the people of Sierra Leone. I can only imagine what they are going through.

Photo credit: www.bbc.com. OLIVIA ACLAND

Link:https://www.google.com.ng/amp/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-africa-41005588

Finding us : an immigrant’s tale

In honour of world refugee day.  June 20, 2017. I do not attempt to know how it feels but my heart goes out to all affected by war,  political , economic  social and whatever reason that made them make the difficult decision to leave what they have called home.

HIS VERSION
I’ll find her
I couldn’t help but feel guilt for our current predicament
It was my idea.
I decided we had had enough
Our parent were gone, siblings too
She’s all I have left and dying together wasn’t an option Continue reading

Yes I’m black

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I remember going into the early hours of my 18th birthday thinking, ’18 years’. It took me 18 years to fall in love with me.

So when he joked ‘ you’re black‘, insult or not, I threw it back in his face.

Yes I’m black

I’m as black as the night giving way to the morning sun.

I’m so black that when it does hits my skin, I shine.

It illuminates my flaws, brings to Continue reading

Unknown

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She wore a bright pink dress, walked into the cafe bringing in a calm breeze that set the mood right. It wasn’t her perfume, it was her soul.
‘Coffee to go please’.
I had never met her before but I imagined she was loved. I imagined her heart big enough to soothe the deepest pains, heal the broken.
‘Milk or sugar? ‘ I asked
‘Black’
She looked sad, Continue reading

little girl

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I personalise all my poems, I think its because I heard poets write from what they know, what they have felt and I want to oh so desperately believe I have in my few years here experienced things worth writing.

But the truth is, I have a lot more to experience and the little girl in me rebellious and adamant on not changing has this to say:

Dear life I will run this race to the very end.

I will not quit when you make me believe it’s my only option Continue reading