My Uncle Emmanuel, Otu had also said, had been handsomer than my father. I did not mind the clarification, but I mind that both men were no longer in sight for my own evaluation.
Gushes of despair, an upwelling of grief: what Otu unwittingly did was remind me of the gulf of time I had yet to cross. As I left Lumumba Street, my thoughts were transformed into an invocation…
How this. Not how long, how much, or however.
Maybe how, however. I don’t want how as adverb or mere word. I want how for how much of love or loss. I want to place it in front of God. How God, how of expanse. I want how in repetition. How how how. How. How, how. How to contemplate what outlasts what. How a lamp is left on throughout the night, to keep wake. How my beard, unshaved for days fathers my face, that face fatherless when shaved. How to transfer a man’s consciousness to those he leaves behind.
How I dread the afterimage, my father’s body laid for viewing. How the palms, long after they are held open, resemble a book, hence letters. How I will cease to be known by my body. How long I would remain surprised that anyone reaches a great old age. How a son is a father doubled or halved. How two breaths are not of the same duration. How I am unable to recite a psalm without weeping. How I am still with you.