Nobody knows that I died a long time ago.
But she would have known,
Even from the slab at Melen.
She just slept.
She never liked hard surfaces,
Preferring the 6 cushion couch
Of red yellow and orange circles of my childhood.
I still remember the watery smells that danced the Burlesque
Of firefly magic from Lake Wum on my childhood days.
The chairs sat under a family of 20 with 1 mother.
Yes, same chairs followed us to Yaoundé, where
She'd start the TV shows with me and then slip away.
Then I like a bad dream would slowly touch her skin awake:
"Mum you should go to bed now".
The show was over.
She would rise then go to sleep.
In a 6-foot hole in Baligham.
They say glass is made from sand, and I’ve witnessed
In documentaries how men take the so-rough-and-ugly
To make these marvelous pieces, that hold the best
Wine, whiskey, temperature, treasure. I had treasure once;
It wasn’t made of glass, but I lost it by my fault
And watched it pour into oblivion ounce by ounce.
I watched it freeze away, as my heartbeat slowed to nought,
And my smile blew away in the breathlessness of the air
Whispering to some distant mage: “This once I sought”
Injury of the soul beyond your finger on a sharp glass slice
And yes, I could feel the stitches coming lose where it dashed
For me. But the voice to save me is gone behind closed lies.
You know, lies like “I’m still here”, “I’m just sleeping”
Meanwhile the wood sips my warmth away, and nothing responds
To my smile calling away the tears, as all around me are weeping.
Where are those smiths to make a diamond from my broken hour glass?
Since glass holds the best, can I add some salt from my heart?
Oh, how it drills into my whole
That As my light the glass holds,
Leaving me in the dark staring into my resting past
It’s just a mirror for you and me, lost and forever apart.
This is for my dear mum Gaffo, gone to the Lord in 2009. I’ll never forget staring at her lovely face through the glass of her coffin, smiling at her, and so hurt that I’ll never see that smile again, that she will not smile back.
I still remember when you were but members kicking in the air,
Reaching for my hair, my glasses, mouth bare, wide stare
Living life to the full without a fear, and very little care:
Your empty stomach, full diapers, or when dada or mum’s not there.
Yes, your gums gleamed for the future white to grow there,
And the first push through brought your mum-mum to crazy cheer,
And brought you and gramma and mum to some hospital chair,
To tend a fever…shame most of these times I was on foreign stairs.
The pictures brought me joy too, and I showed each peer,
Like “Check that out, the teeth are showing” to their blank stare
Of non-understanding, or about-to-jeer, or I-don’t care.
But that little trophy was mine and mine to carry everywhere!
Then they multiplied: more incisors premolars and each year
There was more to show in your mouth than in some trade fairs!
We were proud, but I bet as high as your head was your care
For the diamonds pushing through your gums as if fore’er.
But now I can feel the stab of the salty streak of each tear
That poured out as four years later the incisive pioneer
Lost its hold and you panicked and at that time we weren’t there
To guide you on this change that to you was a great scare.
But but how could you have…but but….Mummy….
How could I have known that things strong one day leave?
How could I have known that this time it wasn’t a pet peeve
And that that last heave for breath is the last you’d give?
How could I have known that so soon we would all have to grieve?
You were decisive and strong, standing through the toughest
And the roughest weather you brushed off your body’s surface,
And put on a warm face, smiled to heal the pain in my sore nest
Where the eggs of hope were being infested by hornets.
Like my little boy living life not thinking about the whites,
I loved deep but saying “I love you” was an Isaac sacrifice,
And by your bier, staring through the glass at shut made-up eyes,
I’m saying “I love you” as if to thaw your face and skin of ice.