Letter from My Father, Odysseus

by D.M. Aderibigbe

After Natasha Trethewey, after E.C. Osondu

Omo mi ata ta, I do not need / to remind you of years / I spent on the edge / of disappearance; the many memories / made of your uncle’s whips / are enough. Bako na ni, I do not need / to remind you of how maturity snatched / you away from the hands / of childhood to live / in dust. Emi na mo, you must be wondering / why I keep bathing / my fingers in these wounds / from the past. For the past is where we are / now. As you read this, I would again be gone. / Gone like a precious stone / thrown in a river. Gone / like a name / sold into slavery. I would be gone. Gone. / Omo mi ata ta, rise each night, walk / through every gate, if they ask you where you are / going, tell them to fight a battle. Walk / until solitude fills / your fists. Fall / on your knees, make sure your vision is darker / than the darkness around. / Scream and scream until god’s / ears begin to hurt.