Image by Andrew Kuznetsov via Flickr.

In those days when you fed me until I clenched my teeth,

Or spat food in your face, or ran,

You told me with cold eyes that our bodies were mysteries for men.

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You fed me and watched me grow, for a man;

And as I grew, your hands lingered on my parched lips.

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You washed me often,

Soothing my back until I tried to be free from your grip: naked.

In the dark, you spread oil on my body,

And caressed it till my charcoal skin shone.

Sometimes, your hands rested on certain places,

And Mama, amidst shouts meant to remind you of your place, would say,

“Ozugo.”

 

By moonlight you sat me by your side.

You shunned the boys when they teased

That the moon rays on my skin were crystal.

You told me they would touch me. And it would hurt.

And as you warned, your eyes rested on my chest.

 

On one of those nights when we hid under the cassava leaves,

You touched my chest.

You touched it gently, then pressed your body against mine.

Tenderly. Later, cowed,

You told me our bodies needed tending—

For men.

I saw into your eyes and you were still cold.

You said our bodies were mysteries.

You called love-making tending,

Even after you buried your hand between my thighs.

 

 

About the Author:

Adaeze M. Nwadike writes from Nsukka where she is completing a B.Ed/Eng. She was longlisted for the 2015 BN Poetry Award and shortlisted for the 2016 Nigerian Students Poetry Award. She is currently working on a collection of poems.