Why Did They Put Back the Chairs? (For Kabanda Peter)

I couldn’t look at his face. The usually brown face with a smile was now dark.

Peace. They call this peace.

I could only look at the picture… the one on the white wood of the casket.

Confusion. Let’s say my mind was boiling.

All the chairs were out of the living room. There was only space for mats.

Emptiness. A huge gap in this living room.

I saw you two hours before it happened. The hospital’s tall oxygen cylinder by your side.

If you were drowning, why didn’t you tell me?

And maybe the doctor was in on it….he said by ten pm, you’d have normalised.

But you knew, my brother you knew and refused to tell us.

So I walked out of that sickness drenched room with hope…the one that never runs dry.

But two hours later….you put your hand down?

Peter, you were supposed to bounce on that water, not drown.

I’d been down a million times, but for you only once?

They said the last shall be the first…

Me, Peter, I was supposed to be the first….

To go into that white casket beyond recognition,

To be ushered into the ground while the rain battered…

While Dad wondered whether to remain or escape the rain,

While Ma stronger than the bull, bid her goodbyes and didn’t faint

While my bro hoped no water would go into your grave

While Paul let the rain drench him…

Peter, you lied. You know you did.

And I am unable to say rest in peace…

For you’re still meant to be here…

Carrying the first of your loins on your shoulder…

Holding the hands of your second

Kissing the face of the one who’d be your last…

Staring with doves into the eyes of your faithful.

I came home today

The seats are back where they used to be

And I hate it.

There on the entrance wall is where you last were in this house

There on the long black chair was where you’d rest when fighting

For you and for us

There on the dining is where you’d sometimes sit with your food

And eat

That fridge is where you’d put your cold juice

To come to after work was done.

Why is everything back to normal

When nothing is back to normal?

Why did they put back the chairs?



2 thoughts on “Why Did They Put Back the Chairs? (For Kabanda Peter)

  1. oh so sorry Joel, i can feel your pain through this post. I hope you can take comfort in the first part of Pslam 23.


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