Poetry from Arikewusola Abdul Awal

After Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

          For things they did not tell us:
        “Life is our teacher, & our tears,
          sighs and sweats; the levies.”

Mother told me that father was a good man
& I should tread the path he led. & because
she was my mother, saying no was a metaphor
for calling myself unfilial.
I echoed the songs of his footprints, hoping
to reach the shore, but yonder was his
footprints echoing some faded tunes that
reeked of rusty bones. There the stamps
on the sand became broad & heavy; my feet,
swollen. I folded my hopes into a talisman,
hung it on my suprasternal notch–to drag
this broken body to the shore. Yesterday,
mother called me a gentle man (like
father's mother had done) & I smiled.
I smiled, shrouding my cries & pangs under
a fake face. I knew father, too, was a hostage
like me for there were tears and sweats
in the wake of his footprints & yet, he died.
He died like a contused chameleon,
shredded off of his color to look for another
at the shore, but couldn't reach the shore.
But because she's my mother, I couldn't teach her
that we all had sketches of our destinations.
For here, we grew up, we grew up to brook
the path on which life put our feet.
And the courses to our own shores
were the roads not taken.

Arikewusola Abdul Awal writes from Oyo state. His poems have appeared on ila magazine, willi wash, Teen Lit journals, Literary Yard, The Yellow House, Eboquills, Afrihill Press, Spillwords magazine, Thirty Shades of Roses Anthology, Broken chunks of hearts, World Voice Magazine and elsewhere.

When he is not writing, he is found reading or watching movies.