Death, a Mask and a Thousand Faces
Death came one night
And tickled Grandpa till he laughed out
of his sleep and passed on with a smile.
Grandma would always say that only beautiful
ladies with dimples can make Grandpa smile—-
Definitely Death must be a pretty lady with cute dimples.
Uncle Jide met Death in a speedy bus with a
reckless driver who drove into a stationary oil tanker
Just to avoid giving the usual kola nut to those
rogue police officers.
Uncle Jide squirmed in pain as fire roasted everything below his waist—
One of the few men in the world who saw Death
And stole an extra time.
Death must be a ghost driver— A very reckless one
And Uncle Jide must have been a deity in his former life.
Surely Death must be a blind and unreasonable fellow
or why take away honest and kind Mrs Adunni, the sweet seller
And leave our wicked landlord
messing with us mercilessly every weekend?
I hope that when that day comes and Death
I would be courageous enough to steal an extra time, live another century
And journey to the afterlife—– smiling at that beautiful lady with cute pimples.
The Ephemeralness of Life
”This life e too short o,
I go chop and chop,
Baba God I must to make am o.”
Uncle Wálé would sing into the stillness
of the morning
As he cleanse his mouth with a chewing stick in readiness for his daily ritual—-
Surfing through the world of Star Lager beers
And London brand cigarettes.
He lived a great life smashing every Guinness
Record for world most alcoholic man.
His skeletal system was just as transparent as
a glass when he passed away.
Well, Mother said never to talk ill of the dead.
“Life is short,
I must make it before life take it.”
I guess that must be Father’s creed.
Daily he would rise with the unhealthy rhythm of that local champion,
Àjàlá the rooster
And would only be seen when the darkness
has completely swallowed the sun.
Hustling hard to rewrite the writings that poverty scribbled on his ancestry in italics—
Even a pair of shoe his father didn’t leave him.
Sadly, he didn’t make it before life took it
But lived long enough to leave an inheritance.
“Life is short, Life is sweet,”
Mother would say as she sits me by the candlelight,
drilling in me the best way to outlive life—-
A full time collaboration with one’s Maker.
So that when that thing with its scary face comes knocking,
Willingly will I embrace it, smiling.
Oluwasegun Moshood is a student at the premier University of Ibadan, Nigeria. With the pen name ‘Shegs’, he talks about the ills in his society and mankind at large.