On that first night when we crammed all of us
into your back seat
and tried to rub the melanin off our skin;
you traced your tongue around the arch of my back and called me magic.
your tongue has become a practiced prayer i say to rid myself of the pain.
you're lying on my bed humming into my skin
because we have nothing to say to each other.
i'm using you for metaphors and similes for love,
tearing pieces of us to reclaim a part of me that has forgotten to write since...
you ask me about work a million times because really when our mouths aren't full with each other,
we remember all the ways that we're going to regret this.
i shouldn't be making a home in another's body
but you pull me to you at 2 am and suddenly i don't know what to do with my legs
i haven't stared at them and wondered how high they can jump since you came along.
love shouldn't look like a scrawny, skinny boy who laughs into my skin and doesn't know what to say to me after his lips leave mine to draw breath
i'm not afraid of being moved anymore
but this is not love or the beginning of it
my therapist thinks i lie to her,
she asks me if i've thought about hurting myself or anyone else,
i say no and that's the truth. i've learnt to transfer the pain into a sea of dark skin.
she asks again if i would ever consider drugs,
i say no. you can tell she's come to the end with me.
i don't have any anecdotes to tell her,
i'm supposed to be happy. i don't fit.
i bore my therapist.
i get to decide who i share this temple with.
the last person i let worship in it burnt it to the ground.
so you get no fire, you get no fuel.
you can stay and pray till you get tired of the silence and leave.
when you stumble out of my bed in the morning,
i smile and wait for the shame to come.
and each time it arrives,
i'm reminded that i am indeed a Nigerian woman.