I – Grandfather

When I used to speak
with laughter at the edges of my mouth,
with an open mouth that had no bottoms,
with unlaced smiles
I thought my grandfather was so tall, he could reach up
and pluck the moon-fruit from the sky-tree.
I asked for myself as a parting gift.
Instead I got distorted memories
and a gaping mouth, never filled.
I tried to pluck the moon-fruit myself
But my grandfather did not gift me his height.

II – Father

A river can flow from various sources
But it is still a river.

I asked my father to find my moon-fruit.
He did not have my grandfather’s height;
he could not see me from his seat.
But he whispered of sweeter fruits 
lost within the pages of books as tall as my fruit-tree.
My mind was the ladder, he told me.
He could show me the ladder
into the world of war and freedom and yellow suns.
Teach a girl to fish, he said.
I cast my net.
My net is empty still.
No one teaches you how hard it is to hold 
a net empty of a catch
but full of longing and disappointment 
and fading memories of fading promises.

III – Me

When my father left,
I found no ladder – only a rope.
I climbed into his books, searching;
for him,
for the ladder,
for my moon-fruit,
for me.
I tore through tales of;
My father was right;
there was war, and freedom, and yellow suns.
But there was no ladder,
No father,
No fruit,
No me.

IV- Fruit

Sometimes, I glimpse my fruit
behind foggy dreams
inside broken girls
holding onto fraying ropes.
My mother found her fruit
behind locked doors
inside strong arms.
All I have found is hunger
for fruit that might taste sour
when I bite into it.

Lade Falobi is a queer Nigerian living in Nigeria. She writes both the fleeting and enduring thoughts in her head. She likes to lie on the ground at night, stare at the sky, and dream dreams.