I watch you

as you peel away the skin

of the paw paw fruit

Each slice slips away like your

hopes and dreams did

Resisting the force at first,

but succumbing to its doomed fate.

It was not the first time

I had watched you,

No.

But it was the first time

that you saw me.

You looked at me and asked,

what is it?

And my heart bled for you.

This four walls had been a coffin to your soul

To your dreams

To the shine in your eyes

clouded by years of soot from the firewood

so dark that you don’t remember what it ever looked like.

You have buried your confidence

in the oven, and offered it to him.

Your tears streaming down

with every thrust to the mortar

until the salt mixed with the yam.

All for a man

who sometimes forgets your name

who licks your tears mixed with his soup

who eats your sweat swirled with his garri

Who sometimes confuses you for the woman down the street

when his brain is clouded by alcohol.

What is it?

you asked,

Oh, but how can I tell you?

Can I look you in the eyes

and tell you that

I hate you and love you at the same time?

that I resent you for the way

you have become a Nok figurine

You remain kneeling

drying up each day,

With cracks all over you

so delicate

that I am afraid

my words will shatter you to dust.

I love you, I do.

But I cannot remain with you.

I have your smile

but I do not want your weakness

I have your head of hair,

but I refuse this worn-out heart and so, I must go

before I too am choked up

With soot from the firewood.

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