We begin to journey back, mother and I, so our arrival could mean we never left.
The canoe is a tree again and we do not speak of what was after the chiselling
—the alteration of the continuous property of time. She said our understanding of light
will give meaning to sequence; light intensity being our day-measuring tool.
We take out light to lose every sense of form and let the water current take us
to the shore father’s name turned ash on our tongues.
The soul of dead books returning to their pages brings words to our language.
We arrive before the first song of fire, before the city became a blend of flesh and blood.
Father is at the shore urging us to leave. We restore light to distort sequence.
Mother is leading us to unmapped geographies,
she names places in our secret language of silence and stares.
We ferry on uncertain of what will be history. When we reflect on our journeys
this is why we mourn: no algorithm can reverse the order of occurrences.
Mother said smile.
Ajibola Tolase, poet and essayist, is an editor with Sankofa House. A 2015 shortlistee of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize. He does not own a dog.