Grains of Paradise

by Uloma Ofole

In my grandmother’s backyard, her grains of paradise

were flowering – purple horns sprouting

from the roots of their dying matriarchs and heralding ‘the new.’

The plants were dying for the flowers to rise,

an act I thought unfair

and stood at the scene

sad, crying.

My grandmother:

she held my face

and wiped away my tears

and I saw that she wore my daughter’s smile,

her face smooth and delicate as the purple petals,

her touch, light as the fragrance they gave.

She said, “I’m happy to see the flowers. Why are you crying?”

I said, “Grandma, your grains of paradise are dying.”

She said, “But they are flowering. Can’t you smell the flowers?”

She said it was time

for her to rest

knowing that the flowers were sprouting.

I clutched her wrinkle-less hand to my heart,

not wanting to let go.

My daughter’s touch,

light as my grandmother’s

wakes me, her wrinkle-less hand on my heart

as I lay on my bed smiling.

Uloma Ofole is drawn to poetry that celebrates nature, humanity, and diversity including justice and fairness.

She is inspired by her immediate environment and focuses on the beauty of nature and the vulnerability of humanity to express her thoughts and views. Uloma spent over ten years working with the underprivileged in HIV/AIDs and vulnerable children projects. She lives in Nigeria with her husband and two beautiful teenage daughters. When she is not writing, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and soap making.

Twitter: @OfoleUloma

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