…they said a boy once waited at the center of your prayer.
[On 17th of February, 2016, the alleged gay, Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi, was beaten in Ondo, Nigeria by a group of youths. He died of internal injuries a day after.]
I saw you trembling at the eyes of men and they said a boy once waited at the center of your prayer, and they won’t stop reaching into their bile to throw punches and curses at you but you stayed then you ran then you stopped because you are broken then you started crying not because you will die but because it’s late and your mother is a smoke waiting to hide you and your room is a secret draped in blue and the sky is red like it’s going to rain and it’s not rainbow and they beat you and beat you and your body opened and blood spilled out and you cry and cry and you remember your lover and his soft skin and his soft kiss and his soft voice and the light is blue and the bed is neat and saliva and lube and the crowd thickened and they beat you and beat you because you stink and smell and dirty and crazy and mad and in love and boys don’t love boys and you’re so tired that you could be a pond so you stopped and fell and you start begging and begging and begging and they beat you more and more and more and you don’t want to pray to God because he said boys like you will burn in hell and you don’t want to go to hell because you have been to hell and hell is hell and your body is hell and your body is flower and fire at the same time so you cry and cry and cry and it hurts and hurts not because they are beating you but because you are begging and begging and there are people standing and silent and doing nothing because you gay and dirty and mad and they are watching them beat you and beat you and beat you and you want to see what they are using to beat you but can’t because you are now blind and lonely and bleeding and it’s dark and your body is not dark but red and you know because you feel it and you think of your mother and the smoke and the secrets in your room and rainbows and your lover with a flower and he’s smiling and waiting and you’re dying and you don’t want to die because he is waiting and you’re dying and you want to go home and they beat you and beat you because your heart is beating for a boy and boys don’t love boys and your body took the wrong way home.
Image by Satish Krishnamurthy via Flickr.
About the Author:
Wale Owoade is a poet, graphic artist and historian who lives in Nigeria. His works have been published and are forthcoming in: African American Review, Common Ground Review, Pine Hills Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Radar, Spillway, Transition and several others. He has received a Pushcart Prize Nomination and his poems have been translated into Bengali, German and Spanish. Wale is the Founder and Managing Editor of EXPOUND. He is a Research Institute for World History (Tokyo) scholar and is currently polishing his debut manuscript.