25 Notes on Becoming by Boluwatife Afolabi

Posted on 26/03/2018
By Commonwealth Foundation


I write to tell you that

the walls of my bones

are made of contention and

I am always situated between desires

that threaten to break

or mould me.



I write to tell you that

I am not the cartographer of memory

and that sometimes,

I forget my way home and

stumble into women who offer

to teach me the ways of water:

How to be soft,

how healing comes in waves,

how to open my body into the sea and

drown all the things that hurt.



I write to tell you that

my love is a nomad and

while wandering here in Ibadan

it fell into the hands of a woman

wearing your face.



I write to tell you that

the second name for movement

is uncertainty.



I write to tell you about hope.

How it is a dream

where children grow into the belly

of a barren woman,

how she wakes in the morning

smelling of loss and longing.



I write to tell you that

scars are a lot like borders.

How my body is a map filled with

dirt and death and

there is a sea in my eyes that takes

and takes and on moonless nights

how I ache and ache beneath my hills

and valleys and call all the names of

god painted on my tongue for the touch

of mother and fullness,

how my prayers come back to me

dressed in a void.



I write to tell you that

while writing this,

language betrayed me and my mind

assumed the form of a tabula rasa.



I write to tell you that

silence is the name

for protest and prison.


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