by Nneoma Ike-Njoku
This is what I remember:
running into your sitting room
holding up an offering of snails
and pepper ''from the bush''
and announcing to the gathered guests that we would have,
for dinner, peppery snail soup.
I remember my incomprehension at the sudden laughter
that burst out like it was planned, my heartbeat quickening, faster now,
I remember I wanted to cry.
You called me, Grandma,
you were laughing too,
only not at me but with me, at them
I remember your beautiful smell: something fragile and something good
as holding me close you said
''Of course we'd have the soup''
It was some time before I found out,
my pepper ''bush'' was your pepper farm,
that those snails were the tiny ejula
the ones that aren't eaten.
of a girl barely seven, holding her silver- haired Grandma,
as the laughter died,
is what this girl has cooked and stirred, kept, stored up
when everything else seemed bleak,
because you taught me it doesn't matter how many mistakes I make
It matters that I seek.
Last updated July 14, 2015