RESCUE

I found rags to cover up
I take the lonely road home
Trying to hold back tears
– Mum will be so angry –
I’m at the front door
And I can’t ring the doorbell
The door clicks open and Mum gasps
– What happened? –
– I don’t know –
I sob and drop to my knees
– Don’t worry honey, let me clean you up –
She picks me up and takes
Me to her bathroom, peels
The rags off me, picks out
The dying petals from my hair
And cleans off the ashes from
My body. She gently sponges
Me and shampoos my hair
I let out the tears
– I’m so sorry Mum –
– It’s okay honey, you’ll be fine –
I nod
– I love you, you know that right? –
I nod
When she is done, I look at
The bathroom mirror and touch
My face. I see the glow come into
My eyes, I smile and clean off my tears
– I love you –

IfiokAbasi Okop
© 2019

Balcony

A good journey is made up of few events,
but one important thing
Is a happy and relieved ending.

I have seen
The journeys the men of my country,
And seen that they have
only begun to stop fighting like animals.

Now we fight a different way.
But to fight like that is not expected of my journey.

Yet this balcony of exclusion
While keeping me
Safe from the journeys of other people,
keeps all the stories I would learn away from me.

Okay, I’m going inside

The Niel
© 2019

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL – Part 1

The most beautiful girl my experience taught smiled at me today
It has been a long class and I thought I was following till that smile
I have myriads of questions but I fear my mates might have a comic relief
So I try moving my shivering lips apart in an attempt to smile back
My grades are average so why the warmth in her smile?
My grades are average so I must be missing something a brighter student can point out
Soon after class, a tap on my shoulder, and I turn to see a pair of joy-flooded eyes
I can’t hold her gaze, my legs are trembling and I have a sudden urge to pee
I sit down, clamp my legs together with my hands between them
She seem to notice my discomfort so she pulls out my hand and holds
“What have I got myself into”, I think
Without mincing words she tells me she likes me and would want a friend in me
On the 3rd attempt at trying to talk and not recognizing my voice
I clear my throat and all I can mutter is ‘okay’
I could change classes and routes and never see her again but she has other ideas
She walks me home, my palm in hers
With each laughter and chatter, I feel at home
She tells tales too beautiful to be true about herself;
Describes her thoughts of me in ways my exposure has not afforded my imagination
I unpack boxes I leave packed because I was always on the move
Now I am home

ChyD
© 2019

Numb

There is a numbness in my head
A searing pain that threatens to strip me of my sanity
And blur my senses of whatever hold on life they have left
So much that my hands cannot thump my chest
Cannot allow me to say it is alright and that I have help within
Groaning out to remind me of who I am and why there’s life in me, but I scream

The numb becomes a pain that only allows me see the trauma
And bitterness and anger I carried for so long
That I could not forgive myself because of
And has now taken control of who I am
The numb has spread to my fingers
I cannot touch my face, to feel the life that lives in me
Cannot feel the warmth on my skin
The blood that flows through my veins

I stagger backwards and I feel a panic rising in my chest
Up to my windpipe threatening to come out through my mouth and when it does
I gasp for air, for a breath
I steady myself by a wall and with wide eyes I take deep breaths
Swallowing as much as I can force down then the tears come
Willingly, patiently, next they become sobs, loud
Choking sobs and in that moment I feel the life seep out of me
Slowly, without a fight and my legs, weak, throb
Throb so bad I can no longer stand so I slide down while hugging myself

It is not going to be alright
It won’t be alright until I see the help right within me
Silently saying ‘it’s okay’ all the while I was fighting with myself
Telling me to stop and allow him fight because my defenses are down
With the numbness and pain
But I could not see it because I took my eyes off him and focused on me
My pain, my panic, my hurt and so it’s not going to be alright
Until I stop fighting alone

IFIOKABASI OKOP
© 2019