by Ugochukwu Damian

i’ve lost count of the queer bodies burnt this way           

  i’ve also lost count on how many queer bodies

                                                       it will take river niger

 to quench the thirst of onitsha men and women


                                                             like water, we take shape

           douse our light

& brew colors

                          for our bodies hold a spectrum


                                              ozomena         my lover

                        says nothing would happen here

                   let’s puff our pride like cigarettes

                                                 and then wear it like a halo


         we hold hands

& tremor becomes the impulse

trudging through our bodies

                                                                        although    we are in south africa,

                                                 a bird remembers its way home

                                                                what happens when the owner destroys its nest



                   i want to hold unto him

                                                     like a figurine holding unto dust in kaduna

inhaling the harmattan air


                                                                   i know   a rainbow is an anagram

for any color it wants to be

                        we will make nigeria out of it


in my dreams

my feet no longer spell fear

nor jail

nor death

everyday i wake to ozomena

molding nigeria into shapes of tolerance

he is hopeful like a mother

awaiting her only son after a war

Source: From the Rebel Issue (October 2019)


UGOCHUKWU DAMIAN OKPARA is a poet based in Nigeria. He began writing poetry in 2017 and his major theme explores gender and sexuality. His goal is to inspire those who have been hurt, making them realize that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. He was one of the 21 mentees in the second cohort of the SLM Mentorship programme. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Woven words, African writer, Kreative Diadem, Straight Forward Poetry and more.



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