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“What Could Have Been” by Aguajah Ajah

“What Could Have Been” by Aguajah Ajah

when on a cool harmattan morning
i walk through the streamside
dewy grasses brushing across my feet
birds on distant trees singing
insects chirruping
i like to imagine my ancestors
walking this same path
ogodo wrapped around their thighs
bare feet treading the soil
women with clay pots 
chatting and laughing
i imagine the scene greener
purer, more natural
maybe dried and rotting leaves here and there
not biscuits packs and sweet wraps
or the heap of rusting tins behind
i imagine by my sides forests full of life
greenness stretching across trees
branches drifting with the wind
squirrel jumping from palms
picking fruits, eating and dropping the nuts below
then i’m drawn from this lovely trance
to the ugly reality of life
to the sight of cut-down logs
of choking smoke climbing into the sky
of burnt palms standing without a branch
of fishermen pouring chemicals into the stream
casting nets to collect helpless species
ripples of guilt run through my spine
pain engulfs me
emotion, for the loss of what could have been

Aguajah Ajah is an Enugu-based writer. His work has appeared in Kreative Diadem and Afritondo.

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