Let’s talk about the fate of garri
From when a cassava stalk finds
The blackness of the soil, when it’s hairy
Spikes find joy in sprouting leaves after
Its roots sojourn into the deeper recess
Of the mantle in the universe of nutrients.
Let’s talk about growth, the process
Of roots becoming bulbs, fattening
To seduce a farmer’s smile by harvest.
Let’s talk about how cassava suffers;
How it is soaked, how it passes a test
To be smoked and dried into flakes – garri.
Then let’s talk about another journey.
The way each grain reacts to water,
Hot or cold, with sugar or soup, a journey
That the throat will find palatable either way.
Does the mouth refuse to chew when
There’s no water? How does the eye know?
When it is lafun or starch? Yes, all forms
Of adversity refine the cassava into a delicacy.
So of what tribe or race or religion might you be,
That like garri, you weren’t planted like a seed
From your father’s stalk?
That your mother vomited you rather
Than push you by force or by blade through
The face or jaws of her bowels? So you came out
Flaky like a southerner, starchy like an easterner,
Or floury like a northerner, doughy like a westerner
And you forget that there is a unit in unity
That is made of you and I.