The skies, for aeons, was unkind.
It denied me all; spared no glimmer
nor permitted an expression
but encased me in my carcass which was no cocoon
like the errant tortoise of the folktales
potted to sun-baked earth
and I could not but traversed everywhere within.
I needed sun–like a buried tuber–to sprout,
and I was for ages rummaging my mind,
some steps deeper, and the pages of soul,
some steps deeper still, even the ethereal region
for the essence
of a life that loved to know,
lost to knowing too much,
then trodden like the path to hell
and paralysed by endless options.
I traversed, ransacked everywhere desperately
like a blood-thirsty bandit from Southern Kaduna
but all was still bare ‘til hell broke,
‘til the hell imbued essential helplessness
pronounced by father’s beaten countenance bitterly queried:
why the perpetual silence?
Son, why the preponderant silence–
that echoed the passage of spontaneous tears through his deflated cheeks
down to the coarse naked floor of our terrace
like torrents of rains upon expired corrugated iron roofs?
A needle dropped and I was deafened.
Father dropped on the floor–lied askew like a crooked log–
but didn’t wink. I saw tremulously all life gathered in his eyes,
his irises turned oxblood–
zephyr rose bellows-like–then yellow
as they began to smoulder like embers to consume the veiling tears,
then flamed like the craved sun–naked–and leapt out,
to gut me like candle does a warring moth;
to gut the carcass fast,
to liberate, unscathed, his second chance dormant within.
Bayo Aderoju is a writer resident in Lagos, Nigeria. He has a first class B.A. in English. His works appear or forthcoming in Praxis Magazine, African Writers, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review and The Lagos Review.