An Ode to My Grandmother | by Adhiambo

My grandmother is the strongest woman I know.
For the 65 years her feet have wrestled with the earth, my grandmother has been the boldest woman I know.

I have come to learn that her sturdy frame and wrinkles carry the weight of many storms and yet,
each time her face twists into a distant sadness, it passes as quick as the wind picks up dust in the harmattan season.

My grandmother is the loneliest woman I know.
Passing her time sitting outside peering into green horizons as the ghosts of her past dance silently to the music of her heartbeat.
She lets out a sigh that carries with it the sound of suspended sobs
for children she lost many moons ago.
I marvel at her withered frame in the midday heat.

My grandmother is the harshest woman I know.
She would raise her hand to strike the rude scowls and half hearted replies that left my infantile mouth.
As the slaps rained on my reddened butt cheeks,
I berated myself for neglecting to keep track of time as she scuttled away too quickly for my feet to keep up with.

My grandmother is the loudest woman I know.
Her laugh sings past windows echoing deep into the night.
I try to imitate her laugh, but only manage to release a measly squeal that is drowned by her chuckles colliding with the sound of fire crackling.

I enjoy those nights the most.
The nights my grandmother spent lulling me to sleep with Luhya folklore spanning over great horizons such as ours.
I close my eyes to the sound of her hearty chuckle.
It follows me into dreams of masked warriors and barefoot children playing in cold streams as the sun descends upon another green horizon.

– Adhiambo

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