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Photo credit: Matt Perich. Source: Flickr.



in a blanklet,

muffled like shame

or oxygen in an inhaler:

a woman

balled into the size of anguish


—small and infinitely boundless still—


a stream of fire

running directly beneath her skin.


her thighs too are pressed into

a man’s memory,

the memory that was not first a moment.


sometimes, a man, like all, is first a memory

to a woman.


she is holding her soul in place quakingly

as a nameless writer tells her

—and the world—through a blog, about love.


she heaves out of the blanket as a bruised sigh

and gives her phone

to the face of the wall;

she goes back inside the cover

and begins to peel her heart,

saying to the nameless writer

who is not there,


“if you have not whispered heatedly, out of the blue, to a man over the phone at 3 a.m., ‘i am in love with you,’ and heard him search himself for a tender truth in place of the lie that would be saying those words back to you, and closed your eyes as the silence pulled you into its hollowness, listened to the sound of your own heart cracking deeper and again in that silence, please, please, do not talk to me about love.”



when you set out
on a trip to gifting yourself
to someone for a while,
you pack lightly.
while you go with an envelope
for his messages,
you go, also, with a small lighter dangling
in your heart,
for memories you may want to burn.
you take a lingerie for your heart,
a transparent lingerie.

you take a plastic adhesive tape.

and you go with your eyes.




About the Author:

Hauwa writes poetry and prose. Her work has appeared on Afridiaspora, Brittle Paper, Expound, and elsewhere.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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