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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.

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

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

 

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.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October, 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

One Response to “Moonlight | Adaeze M. Nwadike | Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Simeon Mpamugoh 2017/09/13 at 13:33 #

    Keep it up Adaeze M. Nwadike. This is a good African offering by you

Leave a Reply

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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