My mother will never read this blogpost
As she died three weeks ago today.
She won’t call me as she did at times to say that she’s noticed a typo.
I am not misspelling my words.
She won’t call me, either, to debate the content.
Death has no opposition.
Death has no ifs, buts or whethers.
Death is the victor of discussion.
She won’t say,
I’m happy you wrote, child.
Write of the sadness in your heart.
Write into the space of the new you, sans Mother.
Let the words flow from the river of your soul
Lest grief dams your throat up.
(I’ve become obsessed with writing
What I felt
What I wrote I felt
Those days before
As though perhaps
I can write my way
My mother and I won’t lament together at how sinister it is, that
You are unknowingly en route to wrap yourself around the body of your dead mother
When the man at customs
Won’t let you pass through
Without remarking about your hair.
You are lying in the park inwardly weeping
Over your mother’s death
When a man walks past
Requests that you smile
Not because your smile would mean that you are happy
But because your smile would mean that he is happy.
My mother would laugh – oh, if only I could hear her laugh – if she knew that I told the self-important man who asked my weekend plans, that, if he must know, well, then I would be spreading my mother’s ashes into the ocean. (Oh dear, she would say.)
But she would weep – oh, how she would weep – if she saw
The air miles I’m accumulating
Traveling through pain,
The purgatory tumble dryer
I’m banging my heart against
In the abyss of despair.
She would say, Minna, look at the angels. Look at them: praying for you, cooking for you, reading you St. Vincent Millay, Harmaja and Mistral. Look at the blue skies and open seas: the origin of God’s poïesis.
She would say,
Climb up the hills with your broken body
Climb all the way to the precipice
If you fall, she would promise, your smithereens will land on something soft.
A bed of new grass. Crevices of Lisianthus in the valleys of grief. Familiar arms.
And falling into the perfume of her spirit, I would gather my splinters wondering how I was ever so lucky to be her daughter.
Rest in perfect peace, mum. I love you beyond this realm.
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Hi! I’m Minna Salami. I’m a writer, blogger, columnist, lecturer and speaker and the founder of the feminist blog, MsAfropolitan, which connects feminism to contemporary culture from an Africa-centred perspective. I’ve been listed alongside Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie as one of “twelve women changing the world” by ELLE and my work has been used as a resource and case study at universities around the world. Like what you just read? Sign up above to receive new posts directly in your inbox.