IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES
Tell mother how much I love her. Tell father that he is the best father the world has ever produced. He is a lion, a brave heart, a new wave of greatness in an African heart. Tell little Uche that his smile would last forever in my heart. We can’t answers to many things of life but we must trying to understand one thing about life, that life is good when it’s accompanied by money and good things.
Tell Nneka that when Ebele died, her mother moved her bed to the place of silence. Kambili took her place. Her doll returned to the bedroom, it was not difficult telling grandma how she looks every morning because she made the kitchen her home. She robbed charcoal all over her body to mourn Ebele. At the burial ground, Uncle Williams came, David was there, Godwin danced the forbidden song, Zelie sounded the drum of mourning, Zoba cried herself out in tears of losing someone like Ebele. It was Njide that covered the grave… we stitched our heart together, knitted our blood veins into clothes of broken memories. Her dog keeps barking in the night, maybe she saw Ebele’s ghost touring the Walls of the room. We all thought it was learning to live with the fact that Ebele is gone. we wanted flowers for Chrismas while death wants Ebele.
Tell Amaka that her father was the major reason we parted ways. in the stars above freedom and love, we shattered ourselves in stories without pages, we learnt to release ourselves into poetry without imageries larger than life itself. We opened the box of wisdom and knowledge to question life and it’s dexisterity identities and colours which stand as part of paintings to the heart. I heard Mother was the last breathe upon which father tabled the lyrics of his spiritual gifts into embers of nudity. In sunshine and rainbows of the whiskey lullabies of music in her pains, let the rooms in my heart grow fonder into the spirit of today and tomorrow. Tell Ifeoma that her attitude towards me was the reason why we could not make the journey into marriage-hood, we were better than we were yesterday. Better than today. I will gather the photograph, the music player, the flowers, the watches, and the bangles, bracelets, the letter she inscribed everyday on the walls of her room and on the table of her heart to the river of doom.
Sometimes, I leave myself in the arms of those brothers and sisters who no longer live on my lips. I learn to save my life on the hands of miseries because that is the safest place to throw up your burden against the illusion of the bridal peace holding the lying mouth of the world. Check the portrait of my mother and you will see me there holding your smile like a pope with the secrement. Surfaced somewhere in my head,
In a photograph where silence cleaves to its walls and edges and colours, I look out for the genesis of your life.
If tomorrow never comes and graves still exist in the mirror of our life and grieves are suspended on the sky, I’ll hold down the rain for my ancestral home, for my hometown, Nkporo, for my people and for those children to come. I leave flowers on the river bank, flowers for the sun and the moon… a new wave of a sudden move. Help me get the chance of getting hurt again in the curves of who you are. Nkporo is not all for you, Nkporo is the land where love rule. These are our enemies, the wind, water, room, silence, photographs & language are the ways i lived these long. my door lies far above the cliff – Boys have found bliss at the other side; I am a boy learning to empty myself to the wickedness of this world, I’m not a stone.
Yesterday, grandma visited. She wore a lurking smile concealing the traces of our home. She broke a smile to the broken house, to the wounds of a raped womb and to the bruises of a tampered heart. She smelt the hibiscus by the side of our shrine. She poured the remaining oil by the dried frond beside the kitchen. She knew what it takes to be a mother, a father alsoalso and a sister. She stood tall for the boys like us. She said I should tell those boys that they are not stones. And for a second, i could feel the wind of her words fill the voids in my soul.
She saw the trees behind my windows danced to the beats of my heart. If tomorrow never comes, this is what you tell my children that I was never a weak man and before now, I heard the birds sing my emptiness a lullaby.
You think the dead really go away? No, they don’t but they guide the light to eternity.
They are here, they’re there, over your head and on your forehead. They are everything you see, hear, eat, drink, touch and feel
When the night comes in folds of their memories. But mother never told of all these things, I am waiting for tomorrow when I will deliver this to your lips to tell my people but if tomorrow never comes I am still here waiting for you to know yourself.
©John Chizoba Vincent