It was the night of the full moon
and we were at supper: that was
when they came for my grandmother.
The birth, they said, was not going too well—and
was it everything the eye saw that the head
carried into the homestead?
In silence, they looked at my grandmother and
my grandmother looked at them in silence: their
wordless communication was like a loud silence—that
kind of silence that comes crashing from the ceiling
when the teacher magically appears in a noisy class.
Grandmother did not ask
to be allowed to finish her meal.
She looked at us with the distant eyes
of a stranger—there was no remembrance
in her eyes of the moonlight story she owed us:
our favourite story of the tortoise:
his journey across seven seas and seven forests
and seven mountains and seven deserts and
the songs he sang over deserts and mountains
and forests and oceans and
the beautiful wife that still eluded him….
Grandmother asked only one question:
‘The grandmother of the child…have you sent for her?’
They nodded—as if all three of them
shared the same head on the same neck.
I found I was holding my breath
as Grandmother followed them
and the moon went with them.
(From Hyginus Ekwuazi’s One Day I’ll Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper (Makurdi: SEVHAGE, 2015)