Last Night

Last night, I dreamed a dream
There were much-anticipated holidays
Promises kept of a treat and
A much-needed school-less break
Of settings out and a looking-forward- to
Of stopovers and eating out
At Ìbàdàn, Ǭrḝ and Benin-City
Of intermittent endings and beginnings
The familiar smell of Aunty Miriam
And favourite cousins
Oh the pranks we played!
We all came off unscathed
Save for one or two or three
Or more
Their memories linger
We remember every now and then

And when we approached Nkwo-Orodo
At dusk
We knew the journey was almost over
But also only just begun
There was the promise of palm wine
A few days of Erosu,
The early morning sweeping of our Mbara-ezi
The prime chore of our freshly-tied palm- frond brooms
Did we not have our fill of the 5-day old Akpu
My grandma’s specialty that never disappointed?
Ha! Quiet afternoons saw us exacting vengeance
On helpless palm kernels
Strengthening our tender gums and teeth
The only way we knew to
And while we played away
Not too distant serpents affirmed their presence

Sometimes, the nights were eerie
But when they were not
We’d be at the base of the fire
Roasting away Nkwu – a wholesome evening treat
The nights were always dark
As Okwu-Orodo was yet not on the map
And NEPA knew not of its being
God’s light was our light
And grandpa laced it with every tale he knew
His was a gift eternal
He told them with love and pride and heart
It is the reason why
I dream dreams
These are my roots, deeply entrenched
It is my story, my source
And were it not, I would be not.

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