A LETTER TO MY SISTER
ọmọ kìí bápèlé ìyá rẹ̀ kó ṣaṣo ró
one day, you’ll remember these exact same words,
how like seeds, your mother spewed them out on your soil.
& the breeze that day was a cushion for your body
with the walls of your house making sure they’re balls into your net.
your memory will picture her bright ankara wrapper,
how they perfectly captured your essence – a ripe fruit in many eyes.
she’ll tell you about the birds that will set their sights on you,
the same way they hovered above her when she was in your light.
I’m certain, your lips will move, they’ll form a smile,
with thoughts about how her tone rose on certain phrases
& fell on others.
these words, you’ll hold firmly like a wristband – small yet conspicuous,
then time will make it a hijab, then, a dress, then your skin.
you’ll make yourself a Sunday, these words, into a church
& no soup you prepare in life, won’t have a dash of them.
Ẹniọlá, one day, you’ll remember your mother engraved your name
into the essence of these words,
for the world to see your wonders wander.
& that, one day, you’ll also spread these exact same seeds
on the soils of the beautiful souls you’ll beget.
ọmọ kìí bápèlé ìyá rẹ̀ kó ṣaṣo ró translation – a child doesn’t see her mother’s footsteps to derail from them
Taiwo Hassan is a Nigerian student, poet and writer, from Lagos. His works have appeared or forthcoming in Best New African Poets Anthology, The African Writers, Mbari Magazine, Kalahari Review and Brigette Poirson Poetry Contest anthologies. When he’s not writing, he’s either listening to music or watching TV series. His social media handles include @iamtsoul on Instagram and @symplytaiwo on Twitter.