Flowers for Akachi: How not to mourn a skydiver
You wanted to be a skydiver and a poet,
So you can reach to heaven and pluck me a star,
place your bloodied palm on the sky as autograph,
Give God a nudge if he falls asleep.
This was before you came home and announced to our shock
you wanted a change of name,
Before you became a flower and floated with sorrow.
You became the stripes of a zebra,
Black on one side, white on another,
Your soul a garden of wild things,
your face, a guide to loneliness.
The day before your body was found, you said
at the other side of death
Is a welcoming: A family reunion,
Friends holding out placards,
“we waited so long for you.”
The world coming together to complete a puzzle
At the other side of death, The noise is a distant wave.
When I bring you flowers
It is not you I mourn, it is time.
It is the things we lost to childhood
It is the stars
It is God
It is skydiving
It is poetry.
A little bit of everything is burning
For the Nigerian burnt in South Africa
Before birth, we choose how we’d like to dance back in time,
say stones, or stings of war,
or river currents.
Something burns in every man, and we never choose fire.
Which is to say,
One is not dead until they are washed ashore.
But today, history drags a leaking bag and I am a messiah.
It pulls me by the ear: lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
Makes my body a living sacrifice;
my soul penance for unknown sins.
Be gentle when you mourn me.
My soft taps on the floor says I have made peace with fire.
Do not take my ashes to the sea,
Let the wind bear me like letters on the feathers of a mockingbird.
Let me wander a little, brother, I am coming home.
I am done playing with this fire. I am coming home.
Tell my father I will travel by air,
Tell him my ashes settling on the roof of his thatch house
Would be the first thing he wakes to every morning.
Adaeze M. Nwadike is a Nigerian poet, storyteller and teacher. She graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She was shortlisted in the 2016 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize. She was also in the BN Poetry long list in 2015, and was 3rd prize in poetry for the muse journal in the same year. Her works have appeared on praxis online, poets in Nigeria, Type and cast, quintessential Christian, Arts lounge among others.