This House Is Empty

This house,
This hulking mass is empty
The sounds multiply as I stroll
Through its emptiness
Echoes tug at my sleeves
Like evil eyed bandits
But these are impotent echoes
Hollowed out by absence

I walk through this quiet hulk
Alone on bare feet to mute
The sounds of absence
I walk up and down
Tracing and retracing my steps

I remember the happy times
The peal of laughter
The small heads bobbing up
From behind complicit couches
Small hands encircling my waist
Wet kisses faintly scented by Ribena

But tonight, the halls are quiet
Empty rooms framed by brown doors
Hollow catacombs draped in darkness
These halls that have known laughter
Even if not love, are silent tonight

I know the smell of 14 lost years
It smells like death

I know the taste of 14 lost years
It tastes like shit

I know the look of 14 lost years
It is mottled, old before its time

“It is only time you say
And you have two beautiful ones to show.”

But that is not enough
And will never be enough to assuage the pain of loss

This pain:
Is the sting of a million bees
The scorpion’s venom rioting in your veins
The scalding heat peeling the skin
The infant son dead before he is weaned
This pain is a knife twisting in the gut

You remember everything now
And will remember more:
The black trousers
The sky blue shirt
The sleepy eyes
And excited aunt

You remember all now:
The massive crowd at TBS
The rain and snooker tables
Apogbon buried under water
And the night growing old at Cousin T
You remember too, the first kiss and shag
All now is history, dog eared memories
That bring tears like dust
Rising from an old page
Pages filled with sadness

I mourn the years
The wasted years
When one fed on hope, believing
That each new dawn
Would unfurl change like a flower
Baring its pubis to the sun.

By Toni Kan

Toni Kan is a poet and short story writer who runs Radi8, a Lagos-based Advertising/PR agency. His latest collection, “Nights of the Creaking Beds, was published by Cassava Republic Press.

Culled from