Joshua Effiong

Colours Of Recovery

every night, under the illumination of an oil lamp, I’ll
shapeshift into the pages of my old history
textbooks. & in the morning, the sky will beget a boy with skin
soaked in kernel oil, reflecting crepuscular rays.
this boy decked with innocence will run into the open arms
of his father to dig up synonyms for home,
but his father’s body will reveal a forest of mahoganies,
their leaves wearing the history of his father’s father.
when they were like him. fragile & smart—they’d
race other boys in the shrubs, caught & roast fireflies.
then, the ships started to arrive with dem white folks
in knickers. grandpa wasn’t even allowed to kiss his wife
goodbye before embarking on his journey with other
boys who became men overnight through the callous hands
of the Mediterranean Sea. how much knowing should
a body know before its relevance? don’t we all unbury the past
to dissolve what aches today? under the moonlight, I
watch my shadow transform into the shape of my father when
he inhales from his snuffbox. on TV, I see people with
same colour of skin as mine dying in the cold in Ukraine,
the Polish ain’t sheltering no blacks before white.
the colonialists never left, they only hid themselves in sheepskin.
at home, the cries of dead dreams have poisoned
the ears of faith. mother still crawls into my room to catch the falling
crumbs of my youth, disregarding the smell of cigarettes in
my hair, she’ll say: broken mirrors can still reflect the face of kings.
I only want to taste the infallibility of a promise.
daily, I say to my unborn kids hold my hands
& allow the rain wash away the dross of generational gloom
do not tell me how to denounce my pain
if they succeed in cutting off our tongues we will make mouths
of these hands.
turn around. turn around,
dear blxck boy,
reclaim your world.
let your ink
rewrite your identity on the pages of time.
aren’t you an embodiment of a thousand suns?
on your skin is the principle of fluorescence,
recollect your glory—the glories of your fathers.
shout into the wind, tell it the exploits of your hands
tell them you’d plant heaven on every part of the earth your feet touches