goodbye is clinging
to my sister’s arm-
tears falling from both
our eyes in symphonic
at the back of a cab
watching distance slowly
boast of our parting
her fingers banishing my
and hugging my fears away
because it’s what big
sister’s do
when they’re going away

goodbye is finding
no words to explain the pain
no way to say
I’m sorry for everything
it is you kneeling on the ground at the age of 13
and asking God why
willing the skies to swallow you up into
vast nothingness-
innocent disarray
a whole whirlwind of
“I never got to say goodbye, please forgive me”
are the words that lick
your lips but never fall
if they do it’s nothingness
speaking words to dust
the dead is gone

I’ve slept and woken up
for years-
cried for weeks
and laughed for months
teaching myself the language of leaving
so I’ll leave myself
and wander into a forest of realms
so another time
someone I love leaves
I’ll disappear with them.

  • Adeyele Adeniran is a poet and writer based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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