Blessing Omeiza Ojo

By Blessing Omeiza Ojo

I found myself in the garden behind our family house
and began falling in love with the god in fruits.
I would have fallen for the pretty girls
on the street of a city in Nigeria or Singapore.
Thinking of my loss, I had burnt a pot of stew
and my grandma, unforgiving, banished me away
from home into the garden to weed and tend flowers.
There were fruit trees, tangerine, mangosteen
and others whose names have morphed into memory.
I became Adam, the modern one, upon biting
the mangosteen which she had cursed like God.
But unlike Him, she didn’t see me eating it.
I bit it more than thrice before her first coming.
There was a swell of sweetness and a tart blend
of peach, strawberry, vanilla and lychee.
On the openings between the slices of bamboo tree,
fastened together with barb wires that shield
the garden from petty larcenists passing by,
she peeped at intervals to police me.
She only saw me weeding, but still asked
if I had touched the queen of fruits. I said no.
But I had done more than touching it.
Its softness felt like skin.
How delicate it was compared to bullets.
I had broken its name into two syllables
and concluded it tasted like mango, the whilom.
On the dead cottonwood, I sat thinking about
the ancient Adam. How the sight of some fruits
could cause a man’s gustatory system swell,
forgetting he is not free, yet not a slave.
How some fruits can be as divine as God.

Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian poet and teacher. His works have been published or forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine, Roughcut Press, Lunaris Review, Last Girls Club, Artmosterrific, Trampoline and elsewhere. He was a 2020 semi-finalist for Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the winner, 9th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize (Ambassador Special Prize). He is currently a creative writing instructor at Jewel Model Secondary School, Abuja, where he has coached winners of national and international writing prizes. When he is not reading or writing, you may find him playing PES.
Reach him on Instagram @ink_spiller_1. Say hello on Twitter @donfox001