ON MOTHER’S BAMBOO
Aunt Lola would always hit her fist on my head, in readiness of the
sordid tales of my birth,
Like the harbinger, beating the war drums as herald for a bloodbath.
My mother kissed Earth “goodbye” as Earth kissed me “welcome”
My father fell lifeless, as he did some dance moves when the cries of
Spilled into the starless night.
Aunt Lola tells me I am cursed,
More so, than the barren fig tree the Bible said Jesus wanted to eat from.
“You are cursed child” knock! “You came cursed”, knock!
Her fist would hit hard my head, at every accusation of my ill luck;
Just as the stick of the town crier, would hit hard on his gong.
When I play, I paint my mother in the air;
I paint her on her hard bamboo bed, giving her life for mine,
I paint my mother smiling at death as she tricks him into taking her
life for mine,
I paint my father, drunk with wine and dancing to the voice of my
cries as I enter this world
When I play, I paint Aunt Lola with a mixture of Earth and my tears,
my sorrows and my pains;
I paint her with the floods and the wars, the bloodshed and the tempest.
Night after night I sleep on my mother’s bamboo;
It is my mother’s will to me, aside her life.
My mother’s spirit tells me it also holds pleasant memories,
But Aunt Lola would have me swallow only the bitter pills.
Father’s ghost tells me he willed his dance moves to me;
I have my mother’s life and bamboo, and my father’s merry spirit and
Aunt Lola has nothing. And herein is my consolation.
Nnamdi Laura Chioma is a level 400 student of Law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She writes from Enugu City.