When I Returned – A Poem by Soonest Nathaniel

When I Returned

The forest was slumberous and the lake was almost dry.
The rains had all gone on exile
so no one remembered the dance of the seasons.
Our village was ill, she was suffering from backward syndrome.

The living still saddled themselves with keeping the corpses quiet,
the dead were yet to find rest in the people’s memory.
So I began to teach them that letting go is a new form of love.

Our young ones had no love for books; very few took to reading,
the shelves were filled with works which have long gone out of print.
So I built them a new library, taught them to read stars
and to read geometric progress from the lines of their palms.

There were old men still trying to see the robed world
through the gods’ naked eyes.
At the prayer ground,
the women looked up at the rolling sky, seeking the seventh proof.
They got stuck struggling to grope on loss, holding on to nightmares.
It hurt me that they were fighting to keep their sanity,
it hurt me that they were fighting to prove their existence.

My mother ended her age long romance with silence,
the victim quit her job as an accomplice
to a crime she knew nothing about.
She took off her mourning gown & invited the griots.
They sang in praise of the troubadours,
they sang in praise of the road.
And while they sang,
the rains returned from their long exiles,
the rains came flapping through the yard.

When I returned,
my mother walked out of her grave,
she danced with the children in the streets;
they danced to the music of the rains.

Soonest Nathaniel @SoonestN is a Poet and spoken word artist. He is the author of “Teaching My Father
How To Impregnate Women,” selected as the winner of the 2017 RL Poetry Award. He was poet
Laureate for 2014 Korea Nigeria Poetry Festival. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Rattle,
Silver Blade, The Pedestal Magazine, FIYAH, Silver Blade Poetry, Northridge Review, Praxis
Mag, Raven Chronicles, Wiki Column, Saraba, Loudthotz, Northridge Review, Reverbnation,
Elsewhere, Scintilla, Erbacce UK, Kalahari Review, Sentinel Nigeria, and many more.

Banner: The Poetry Tree vibrates under the Stars, soft pastel, Moira J Saucer. Inspired by a night sky photo shot of Nairobi, Kenya by photographer Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals). Tweets: @MJSEyesopened

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