Diviner’s Hand

05-31 Shoneyin
Lola Shoneyin
Nigerian
b. 1974

Sometimes I wonder
how much longer I shall be here
to bite your hair
with my wooden toothcomb.

I am not afraid
of the freeze of frail fingers;
there is something
romantic about loss.

But I worry about the uneven rhythm
of the diviner’s hand,
the widening waist
that filters sand.

I worry that time
rests its hand on doorknob
and taps the floor
with its iron toe tip.

Somehow,
I must show you
the tricks my mother didn’t teach me;
tell you the tales that never reached me.

But if time will spurn
a mother’s wish
or turn its face away
from a daughter’s need,

remember this, little one:
a life lived well is a wave in flight;
discarded dreams
draw out painful night.