Last Friday it was three months since my mother transitioned.
Last Friday it was one month since we gathered in songs as if our hearts were somehow okay.
That this incredible mishap,
Was actually bearable-
As if for sure our songs mimicked honey,
As if we understood.
Author’s Commentary: Inspiration for this particular poem (and the body of work it’s a part of) came after the death of my mother in May 2017. I continue to grapple with the grief, denial and pain that her transition continues to bring me. Being bereaved and living in a space that considers bereavement or grieving as an inconvenience has made it extremely difficult to properly deal with my grief. I wrote ‘Pretending’ three days after my family and I along with friends gathered at a ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria, called a service of songs where people gather to sing hymns and talk about the deceased person. This particular service was so painful for me as it seemed we were all required to put on a brave face as if this loss could ever be seen with cheer.
Emalohi Iruobe is a slasher-attorney/writer/poet/artist/unmothered. She is interested in themes of grief, love, pain and womanhood as an African woman living in Africa. She is consistently cross-examining her humanity through the intersectionality of gender, race and origin and hopes to find rest.