“My Mother Died with Her Home” by Temidayo Jacob

Temidayo Jacob


When my mother died,
she took home along with her.
Here, home is not a mere thing,
but a person holding different
pieces of peace together as one.

Father comes home every night
after spraying himself with alcohol,
with lips of heartbroken prostitutes
kissing his shirt, finding their way
into my father’s house like black ants.
They lick his skin and call him daddy
while he feeds them with fresh sugar.

My elder sister is the rag of the town,
every man uses her wetness to clean
up their already drawn dirty desires.
Sometimes, she becomes eatable too:
at dawn, she is a ripe mango whose
sweetness is being sucked out hungrily;
at dusk, she is a new tuber of yam whose
bitterness is being burnt out by fire.

My younger brother is the morning sun
whose brightness was washed away
by the rain that fell after my mother left.
He got tired of being seen as a shadow
instead of the light that births a shadow.
Last night, he became a swollen wet bag;
the well in our compound is a witness.

Here I am, in the smallest dark room,
using a pen to create a picture of all of us
with mother in the middle, holding us.
Hoping she will return home
even if she can’t return herself to us.

from Rattle #65, Fall 2019
Tribute to African Poets


Temidayo Jacob: “I am a Nigerian student, writer, and photographer. I grew up in Lagos. I’m pseudonymously known as Mayor Jake. Poetry is sounds louder than thunder. My poems are based on real life experiences and societal happenings. I write poetry to bring light out of darkness and to show the darkness in light.” (web)

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