My Childhood Tastes Like

A poem by Yomi Sode


My childhood tastes like water / like wind / mouth open embracing life and nature / as sweet as Fan Milk / as tart as a cut / dabbed with TCP and cotton wool / my cowardly scream / my watery eyes / me crying then laughing / wondering how adults changed my mood / my childhood tastes like places second generations have never seen nor touched / just fantasied / home on my tongue / its palette of built up traffic / yam porridge and farm land / where cows are slaughtered on backstreets / people walking on blood bare feet / fighting flies that perch on the tips of their ear / that stench of death / my childhood tastes like flight food / England through my eyes / it’s abnormalities in weather and racial tension / how it smells of multiculturalism and colonised spices 


My childhood tastes like breast milk / and smells of baby powder and incense / of fried fish nesting in the wool of my school blazer and the chill of rub smudged around my nostrils / my childhood tastes like / my childhood tastes like / like lemons at the sight of seeing my mother cry after finding out her grandmother died / that silence / that stillness / then a wail that could be heard on shores / on islands / I knew this feeling was bad when I saw no smiles / no hourglass loving embrace / I remain sat / cross legged / watching her tears stream like rivers / even when wiped it treacled down her palm 


My childhood tastes like shaki / I never swallowed the fact he did not fight hard enough for her love / never stormed through rain to affirm his position as I saw in movies / this shaki / that you chew and keep chewing / till its rubbery ends weaken / this childhood of tasting rain and snowflakes / how it sticks to ice poles and railings 


My childhood tastes like fine wine / all its richness held within / my whole life I've been holding it in / making sense of memories / I have sat, watching hot knives mark the cheeks of children / parents / holding their feet like cattle / if legs had mouths they would bite they would spit / each scream / like a mothers slap / my childhood tastes like porridge that rose from my stomach as I ran for my life through bushes / feet so nimble / mind so sharp / my childhood feels like the best drug on a natural high / like the first kiss as I bit the flesh of her lip / ensuring she saw a longing in my eyes / this blood that’s drawn from every fight I lost / each rib that ached / this childhood of catching dandelions wishing for her to like me 


My childhood tastes like jollof / like Auntie’s agbo / that stains my tongue with garlic but rids my insides of junk / it tastes of sugar cane remains on my palm after talking too much in class / it tastes like bush meat / banana / burnt toast / coco pops / coconut / watermelon / Oreo / with toppings of ignorance and racial terms I've grown to know / it tastes of milk / cookies and bedtime stories / tis but a dream / but as physical as touch