What can I say of a place that holds longing and nostalgia so intense it flaps like a trapped bird in my heart?
I can say red soil and dust coated roads and roofs. The sight of which makes me relive memories of rain and winds and flailing trees. Usually, I’m locked up, gazing out, relishing from a distance, the beauty of the mundane.
I’ll speak of the healing peace taking strolls around school offers. Each building and road and cafeteria holding a specific memory that tingles, inciting a smile or blown out laugh. The ecstasy of viewing the entire school and beyond from a mountain top is like taking in an aesthetic imagery of nature.
Mornings I crave Okpa – the yellow peppery cake that keeps me alive for long winding lectures. Afternoons, Abacha unfolds its full richness savoured best with friends. Ofeaku and rice evenings are like getting a hug from mother after a tiring day.
Ogige market holds the joy of Igbo flung in the air at turns and stops. Saying Daalu after a thrilling bargain piques my wide grin. Ditching the shuttles and taking the long walk back to school makes soliloquy an emotional converse.
Nsukka is a lover. A lover that holds memories of little beginnings and growth and friendships and little successes. A lover with whom life started, a lover who held my hands through the early days of adulthood. With whom I was free to test waters, take wrong turns over and again until I got it right or made my rights. Nsukka is a lover who still beckons.
Okpa – Bambara nut pudding
Abacha – Shredded cassava salad
Ofeaku – Palm nut stew
Daalu – Thank you
Nsukka – A town in Enugu, Eastern Nigeria
Ogige market – A central market in Nsukka
Sometimes I like to think of myself as dawn
5:30am precisely – pink aurora
A cock cries in a distance –
I look forward to
Taking a soothing sip of coffee
Betwixt the sweaty jostling
Sometimes I think of myself as dusk,
11:40pm precisely – silent, cold, dark
A lulling breeze sings a late lullaby
I can’t decide if I want to be dusk or dawn
12am – so I choose midnight’s
Eerie quiet filled with blinding darkness
A faint hub of sunset and sunrise
I’m rarely an eclipse
Quintessentially, I’m a juxtaposition
Of times and its visible imprints
On my heart beats with a sad smile
Still, it doesn’t slow down
For dawn is almost upon me
IfiokAbasi Okop is a writer and an editor at christapoet.com. Her work has been published on Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper and The Muse Journal. She lives in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State where she loves to stay indoors and read on the weekends. She tweets @ifiokabasiokop.