Suppose I were to begin this poem by showing you someone, say a girl. Suppose I were to speak of her as teenaged, possessing a skin with such beautiful gardens on it. Suppose she knew about us as I read. A smile appears slowly on her face and disappears in nanoseconds. To be honest, I know about the inadequacy. I have not stopped talking about it. I am aware of the fact that she likes to sit under that crab apple tree at the park, wondering what it is like to bloom in a body she abhors. The whole magic. The despair. I am aware of the wars, times she fought so hard to hold onto herself and not break apart.


She is standing naked in front of her mirror. Her coffee skin is glowing in the light of her kerosene-lit lantern, coffee skin that was put up for sale the other day, great coffee skin they said. Her stubborn hair is standing like some thick bush. Her breasts are fuller. She likes what she sees this time. She twirls. She stretches her arms and twirl more, like a Ferris wheel. Fast. Faster. Fastest. Then she stops. What was she doing? She had no one to remind her of the sunlight in her body, or the stormy wind under her eyes. Soft girl. Daisy. Ordinary. Vulnerable. Quaint.


There were never any rules. The only one that comes to mind says, you are condemned to love yourself so fierce. Even now, after much unfulfilled wishes, our girl wants to remain beautiful. She wants to drink more coffee. She wants to be the sky. The rain. And the beginning of a love so strong or lousy, depending on what song the nights leave her with. Her skin, a new religion, is terrific. She should take it back, every part of it. Who would own it and not worship? Who would own it and worship?

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.