Far-off, we follow the hearts of rivers in twists and turns like snakes through woods of grey mists and thorns. Of thousand silent squirms & treads, women bear tearful needles and threads and fragment pots and sons and daughters to sow and weep and cook and eat and eat and die and we, war for at least a bite. Besides, orphans like me, wear their father’s surviving khaki boots and cold eyes and dusty courage, through the greens and browns of days and nights. We have neither Simon to help us bear our crosses a little further in our skulls, across our shivers, to pierce our eyes with siren, nor Poseidon to gift us purebloods to drink, ride, live and leave but far away from home, I hold a pile of my fatherland’s sand in my left hand; although sieved, planted in every soil and water I overhauled, through my fresh fathomable cuts, the hand I might never use to eat and look around and find a woman’s neck, lost in lame pyrrhic dance movements in bead-less twirls of chopped waist and later, her son’s bullet-holed legs, her daughter’s crucified hands, feeble feet, the river behind us, and me. While the wind snatches our breath from our lungs and makes our skins burn, the kind of wind that makes us laugh out loud with each prick, I hear a cow moo from nowhere under the scorching moon, a dagger in my breast, a stain on my smile, a skip in the imaginary music, a pause to our meek steps, a red light. No home in this land too, only forlorn bones, in different forms; falling like drops of rain, in turns before the real dagger(s) trust our necks, hearts… anywhere she deems safe, with her wealth.
THE MOTHER WHO FINDS HER DAUGHTER IS A THIEF
I think we lost our daughter again.
The last time I found her at the Cathedral, I neglected the fact that she wore a wig that bears the names of all the women in the Holy Writ and I grew light fingers, and plucked her from the nunnery, and slide her in my leather purse and brought her home.
As I write, she is in my old room, which used to be yours; it’s now hers.
She lies close to the wall, inscribes at your old school plasters with her fingernails, dips her eyes, her fingers- massaging the place where I’d touched you. Her palms bear stains of Bishop’s brown polish, and face looks as though she belongs to a cadaver, tongue out, watery. As I examine myself watching her, it makes no sense; it is as illogical as our dreams for her, your dreams. But she screams ‘God’, in every of her breath, I get more confused. Maybe He can’t hear her that way. She searches for signals, in every angle, and poses, one of which I fall in love with. Her head bowed, and left hand, hiding her sinful eyes from Him and right hand, drowning helplessly in her anus. Still, she didn’t hear from him. In frustration, she throws a towel and stands and wears her nun’s habit and rosary and leaves me a dead kiss, on my forehead, with a question and her chaotic mess of damp pants and towels, and fug of stale period in the air. We were never this lust in Christ, were we?
For now, father, in his birthday suit// requires no necropsy// but a cup of coffee [don’t ask why]. He disappeared two days ago// without taking his prayer mat and beads along with him// then, I confirmed his days are numbered// like mother’s, // who spat on his face one day and drove off// and felt countdown hunch over her steering wheel like an old woman// knocked against a coffee tree// in the middle // and yet, never looked back. // [I too don’t know]// as reports will have it// he’s found in the coffee shop// the land of wandering ghosts// he goes there to see mother// in her tight muumuu// smiling at his jokes// and the coffee attendant,// admires the smell of the Hibiscus in father’s hands// in dead smiles// I saw Kate too// her thigh, stains of ugly permanent red fluids [the rapist was a careless painter]// curls had escaped at her memories and behind her ears// giving her a renaissance look// new friends// new plastic and rubber toys// Halloween masks// and father,// he’s in a pool of whipping flashes// from digital cameras// and cobwebs of the police// ‘Police lines, do not cross’ // sprawling on withered hibiscus//and eventually, passing away// he does that trick// in his bath// whenever he had one. // and I will cry and kiss him and sing dirges// and his skin; cold and papery against mine// will resurrect and request for a coffee rather than a coffin. // please women, milk your children// no autopsy is needed// no one is wanted// not even his mother that weaned him the day he was born// he skipped his prayer dose// ‘although our days are numbered but may the Savior come no time soon’// and now, becomes a laboratory of Pellicularia koleroga.
Poems © Ayomide Bayowa