Butter mint

This is softer
made with coconut oil
white with red
stripes around the bend
does not break
when I bite
does not labour
the roof of my mouth yet
holds like fingers would

This one takes me back
to the hour after vigil
walking around the bend
lightening bugs cackling
feet brushing against tarmac
my arms around her neck
my weight pinned against her back

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Order of Events

At first you feel everything
and then nothing.

Then the most terrible sadness
laced with delicate love.
Then a sliver of hope-

maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems
maybe there’s a chord that fits
enough to make it sound like a song.

some happiness
some sadness
more happiness than sadness
then sadness, far from benign
then nothing.

Anger.
burning through your sleeves
burning down the truth you
desperately want to be true

And then you just want to forget
everything.

even the best memories
even the dearest, most beautiful moments
(of your life so far), you want to forget because

for you, they are creating an even
greater grief- having felt.
having seen.
having been.
but you cannot forget

and that in itself
is a tragedy.

We could be lovers

Five minutes ago, I was standing in the shower, hot water splattering on my chest, thinking about how we could never be lovers; because for you, I may be too serious.

But then I thought, maybe we could be lovers because we know each other. Because the first time we met, we were eleven year olds who barely knew a thing about anything, thrown into a world we did not know how to navigate. In this world, our clothes hung on our bodies for dear life because we got skinnier by the month. Because home felt farther than it was.

We could be lovers because we have watched each other out grow versions of ourselves. We have shed old skin, grown new ones and repaired broken skin we still needed. We have loved and not-loved but returned to loving again and again. We have fought. I have called you names. I have promised not to tell you anything ever again but you are still my safe place. I still tell you things because you know me. You accept me. You make it all feel small. Fixable.

Thursday night was our make up night. Bible study from 7pm to 9pm. Each time we fought, we could never get past a Thursday without relearning forgiveness. We had two hours to lift the rug and make sense of the broken pieces beneath it. I saved you a seat next to mine or you saved me one and we would sit there still a bit angry, pretending to listen while the tension between us rose like a leaf in the wind. We sat there with our throats dry and our hearts loud in our ears waiting for the first words to arrive. I cannot remember who was braver of the two of us but we walked out the hall feeling like our worlds rhymed again.

We have moved to a new continent yet we still love in the most infrequent ways. In three day old text messages and un-returned phone calls and face timing every six months. We share old jokes, old pictures, I love yous that we really mean and I miss yous that are always felt.

We are now twenty-two year olds. We talk about healthy eating, social justice, the legitimacy of christianity . We laugh (a lot). We still tell each other things we wouldn’t tell other people. Beneath the laughter, we are stripped down versions of ourselves. We share our biggest struggles; the losing and finding ourselves in cycles. We have created a dynamic that would drive normal people insane but for us, it works.

I talk about how I was such a bitch in junior high. You say “not really” a softer version of “yes really”. We call each other on nights we cannot breathe, on days it feels like the world is closing in on us and we are our last chance for air.

We could be lovers because five years ago, I watched your father drive off with you in the front seat and I thought I would miss you forever. In February, we stood in middle of a busy mall as though it hadn’t been five years. As if it had only been a week. But you could tell, couldn’t you? that we had changed, physically and in all other ways. That time had carried us through winter and fall.

We are different. You are different and yet our love feels the same – even stronger, even better. Effortless. It’s what I love most about it. There is your voice in my head, your face in a smile, your square shaped nails with its white tips and there is your handwriting, the one you changed to an uglier one in js2 because it meant you were older. I am your biggest “you-are-going-to-do-wonderful-things” and you are mine and perhaps I would be different without you.

We could be lovers but we shouldn’t be. Because at least we have each other to run to if our lovers crack us open. If our lovers leave us bleeding. We could be lovers but there is a method to us and it will not survive the heartbreak of a failed us. We could be lovers but there is not a thing in the world that compares to the ridiculousness of us; this creation. We could be lovers but I will always be too serious for you.

old home

it is the back
of my grandmother’s hands,
her veins,
the way they lean into
her skin, as if they cannot
remember what it means to
stand-alone.

it is the wooden
bench, mastering its balance
with a broken ankle,
weighed down by
the gossip and buttocks of
market women.

it is my grandmother
serving afang so thick
it could have only been
made with extra
love and a little water.

it is the mosquitoes
commencing choir
practice just before
we start to eat.

it is the burn
on our finger tips as
We dig into the fufu

it is the fireflies taking
photographs. It is

my father’s childhood home.

This reminds me of home.

It seems like the perfect morning
as i step into the sunlight on my front porch.
i breathe in the brisk summer air
and i stare into the distance.
The sky is the lightest shade of blue
And it is beautiful.

This reminds me of Nigeria.
This reminds me of my home.
The air smells like hardwork and hope,
And i am hit with endless waves of nostalgia.

it is strange. I cannot hear loud honks from bad drivers,
I cannot smell akara or agege bread,
i cannot see hawkers asking me to buy what i dont need,
but somehow this morning reminds me of home`.

I cannot see overloaded merchandise vehicles,
or people mindlessly throwing things in the gutter,
There are no little kids in plaid uniforms trekking to school,
No mama-put cooking with her crying baby on her back.

I do not even see potholes on the road,
there are no mechanic stalls on the sidewalk,
No okada men with more than one passenger,
Yet this is the aura of my home.

i can’t quite put a finger what it is but
maybe it is the never ending cycle
of everyone trying to make a living.
Maybe it is because regardless of where you are,
you wake up every morning and put your best foot forward.

maybe it is because wherever we go,
we take memories of home with us.
And on some days like today,
we are given a glimpse of home,
that triggers all these emotions.
maybe this is a reminder that we
carry our roots with us wherever we go.

Maybe there is a song in our hearts that nature triggers,
maybe it is because nature is a mirror, and sometimes
we see reflections of ourselves and everywhere we have been.
I don`t really know but this morning, I really miss home.