Ma, your adult son is home. Things are not the way they look.
I have put a foot backwards. Many feet backwards.
I have fried my dreams. My eyes are teary from smoke.
Ma, I cough. Bouts of sneezes. My internal rooms are hazy.
The dreams were large, too many. And when they burnt
They made enormous fire.
Growing up has been walking on hot oil. Each step tells me to hurry.
But hurry didn’t do ma. The sole peeled and peeled.
Then I saw new skin and smiled.
Then it blistered ma!
My memory is turning. It cannot remember.
Or it remembers too much; too much uncertainty.
So, I do not know what I want to tell you:
Whether a confession of weakness; an acknowledgement of sorrow;
An admission of failure; or the subtle regret of not being enough.
As I return to you, like we all do to dust, I know you will recognize me.
The familiarity of origin will absorb me home.
And should I have a choice in these things;
I will return to you once after this journey and refuse to be born again.
About the Author: Ajah Henry Ekene lives and writes from Nigeria. Some of his works are on Brittle Paper, New Contrast, AfricanWriters and The Kalahari Review.
He won 2nd place in NSPP (2017) and partly enjoys practising Medicine.
Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Tahquitz Canyon” (2019)