Every morning I wake up in a kitchen at the crossroads of my body and spirit I’m expected to make something of my day a delicacy, maybe, or an atomic bomb? I’m supposed to know the path to tread I hear that strange question outfacing me: ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ I blank out—how do I go about that? ‘don’t answer,’ I’d hear, ‘just bake it’ bake it, really? with these untrained hands? a silent fear would latch on my heart as the actual ‘what’ and ‘how’ evade me but no one listens—I must be babbling I hear that life happens to us, it just does so I find myself every dawn, yawning somehow equipped with unknown recipes for every relationship I’m to enter and exit for every cause I’m to believe in and fight for I’m always in a hive here, my head crowded the bees are home, buzzing with life since my hands must fashion out something I launch my day mixing desires in the same bowl with uncertainties, kneading them soft on the intricate board of complexities oh, and life may add two teaspoons of denial or of approval, and on a careless morning I may doze off as my oven burns itself the resultant loaf smells of wreck, trash-worthy it breaks me, plunging me back into the same old struggle of making my day count sometimes I bake an aspect of my life into a successful cake worth celebrating this happened the first time my father beamed and said he was proud of me I became an inspiration for other humans but then, I forget to diligently take notice that each time the world laughs with me it becomes a clue, that the coin is tossed that I may be getting the head now but the tail is a few tosses away sometimes I can’t but bake sorrows in oblivion, or find them pre-baked all it takes are series of blind decisions as I follow just the sight of my eyes neglecting the still small voice within then when I prepare a table stocked full and sit in readiness for a grand feast the first deep bite poisons my tongue the taste of sadness—only hope remains to breathe on, to bake better another day
Joseph Olamide Babalola is writer of evocative poetry and fiction bordering on the critical issues of everyday life. He was shortlisted for the 2021 K&L African Prize and the African Writers Award. Some of his creative pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in 101words, Poetica, Kreative Diadem, Praxis Magazine, Nzuri Mag, Agape Review, and elsewhere.