During our daily two-hour Skype conversations

I ask you about those hand pricked tattoos that adorned your face and your limbs

you said: the badiuon women couldn’t afford luxuries like nice garments or jewellery

so when it came time to wed they hummed hymns and decorated their skin with sharp pins and hand-picked tattoos in the shape of roses and necklaces’ to show off their bodies to their husband on their wedding night they called it

the poor people’s jewellery

Grandmother

truth is,

I never met my grandfather

but whenever you speak of him your eyes widen like football fields

your withered cheeks blush rosy red

your smile

fills the room like forgotten curtains on a summer morning-

you tell stories of him

as your lips break free

from the shackles of repressed memories

and your wall

                collapses

relapses

               elapses

synapses

snapping , connections too quick for your thoughts to catch up to you

I catch you

daydreaming

you place your open palm on my right cheek

and bring me closer to you

as your chin cuddles my forehead

as the salty reminisce of your tear drops

travel that oh-so-familiar

downward stream

Grandmother

I know cemeteries that have more life

than what we’ve shared

with every riff and every breath

may God bless those scars that tore your chest

when those hospital lights claimed your breasts

and those beauty spotted sores upon your skin

camouflaged as pores

to let hope in

a country where suicide is a season in spring time

when your nights are spent sleepless

and your days are plagued with pretentious advice

like ‘time heals all wounds’

Well I’mma give time, time

and draw clocks on these cuts

as band aids

and pain both hands at ‘12’

so my prayers can be on time for a change

Grandmother

you give me the language to speak my identity for the first time

as I have a list of questions I want to ask you like,

Did you really walk them to school three-miles every day and back?

and

how did you feed nine- kids with three loafs of bread every day?

In fact

Every blink- a love note to capture your own history

Grandmother

how did you cope when your sons

were treated like unmarked- cargo, nameless

as they latched on to steel rods of sails

pressed against their flesh

tore through obese oceans

made do with fragile boats

that resembled broken bones of those that couldn’t make it

held together by a prayer

Grandmother

I know your face still

do you know mine?