For Granny (d. January 14), and Aunt Banke Akintunde, PhD (d. March 15)

How does goodbye begin? With love? With a kiss on the lips or a warm hug in public places?
How does goodbye begin? Sour drops of tears in the beer of a familiar place or worse?
Or streams running down the ugly face of a twice-recurring moment without a sound?
How do goodbyes begin? Do they run like a silent brook on a gloomy day, or bubble
like the fresh waterfalls of a once-forgotten hill? Do they fall like raindrops on a desert?
Do they hum like bees after the smell of fragrance, or like light glowing out of a burning wood
Do they burn? Do they pinch like flakes of snow? Do they, like birds, just pick up and fly?

How does goodbye begin? With a whimper? With a wave of hand or a cry in the night?
How does goodbye begin? Babbles and laughters that rise about the dark lonely room
When days and night merge into one, and strangers write the lines of tomorrow’s song?
How do goodbyes begin? Do they wander in the air, elusive to touch and description
like the wounded butterfly across the sight of an elder? Do they soothe or do they excite?
Do they waft across the oceans like a forgotten dream, or like the tired membrane of a drum
Do they tear? Do they itch like the rash? Do they, like birds, just pick up and fly?

There is a painful swelling in the dead of the night on my heart, ripe like a freshly open weal.
It is the goodbye mark of gems, with smears of the now bitter tears, too hard to heal.

(c) Kola Tubosun 2011

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