I could not love so completely.
Inside of me were cities I never built, stories I could not finish. I remember exploring the bodies of my lovers and finding nothing. In the truth of each loss, I let everything human in me fade away. All my desires turned into a tub of magma which I doused myself in. Each morning, I would wake to the sharp smell of latex, to the face of my newest liar whose I love you tastes better than the former and I would fail to see the graves crammed in me. It kept me wanting— the hunger, so I searched for more; bodies stacked over bodies, tongues deep in fountains, moans dripping off faces.

Fire ending miracles, poison seeping into everything.
Mother died.

I am waiting in the boulevard, perfumed and mute. The grey clouds are hanging so low between the trees, the girls are prattling like school children, the songs from the women are heralding my exit. He finds me but I am not grateful. He is short, a robust figure bottling countless wishes. I fake a smile because I am reminded love is merely a duty I cannot refuse, and my cheeks are hurting and hurting from all the empty smiles.
With him, my body opens to the width of a sea, it is something I cannot understand. I lead his sweaty palms to the other parts of myself, to my waist, and when he slides into me, I resolve that affection is a thing to be earned.

I once knew love in a body with wild promises. Promises that were not only wild in every sense, but forced you to commit to them, to cherish them. My own body, like a refuge camp, swallowed this other body because discovering a new sunshine means living in light and if there was a thing I needed to do, it was to breathe in enough glee to hide my inadequacies. So, at first, we owned vanity until the world gave way to nothing.
She, a glorious apparition, was hard to hold. She could peel off my clothes within nanoseconds, and on some nights, we became each other’s predator.
Then she left and never came back.

Imagine every day you wake up splayed out with pain. Like, you can no longer remember how to settle into yourself, to stitch together your fragmented body, to return to the universe you created in your head. You have no name. The breaths in your lungs are not even enough. Your heart, a wringed-out cloth, forgets what it is like to beat. Your body becomes a room stuffed with memories that eat you like a sandwich cake and, in those moments, you are overwhelmed by a luxury of shame.

This is how I lose myself:
First, I turn to water.

Ohia, Ernest Chigaemezu is a young Nigerian writer who loves ginger tea and fried plantains a lot. His works are on or forthcoming on Rigorous, Nantygreens, Dwarts online, and elsewhere. He edited Drama for The Muse, number 47.