by Chiwenite Onyekwelu
You were my first undoing. You
whom I met at the shorelines of my life.
In the sizzling of oatmeal too close
to ruins the television bright eyed on
Saturday nights & the crisp chattering
of Ludo seeds, I took care to hold you at
an aunty’s distance. How come you
blurred the lines & met me unguarded.
I wanted to be a child that very night:
soft & fragile & yet untouched.
But you held me in your mouth,
weightless as I was. You led me by the
hand into your deeps. How the river
swallows an eel & was I not the victim
of a turbulence that
began with you alone?
Now, all my childhood days stand
against me. This body bears witness to a
borrowed tide. The wounds fresh as spring
have immortalized you in all the wrong places.
& yes, I’ve been bleeding my whole life.
I keep sinking halfway to the shore.
But healing is an expertise I’m willing
to learn. In this way, I come out drenched,
yet alive, with enough breath to begin again.