by Chibueze Obunadike
Shortlist (Top Six) of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)
“Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us” — Sappho
a drunk man walks into a room and hits his lover till she begins to look
like all the love that has left him.
somewhere in the rotten underbelly of this city, a man is forcing himself
into the body of an under aged girl and claiming that
she looks like his wife’s ghost.
my father takes his wrist and cuts it open with his teeth
until all the memories escape and the floor is again red with him.
we begin again, and it’s the same old story.
the villain. the world falling apart. the hero only trying to do
good and ending up as the very thing he wanted to destroy.
the villain and the hero and how they are
us. all of us.
i am tired of writing the scenes where we save the day.
where we make it back alive again.
where we come back and act like the blood on our hands
isn’t even our own.
humanity is blood and only blood. i told you this the first day we met.
i also told you i loved you.
and how that too, is bloodshed. only of the heart.
i took you to my mother’s garden in the backyard and showed you the roses.
how they bleed red and bloom through it. i still remember how the light flickered
in your eyes as you said how much you loved them.
how in that moment i wanted to be nothing but a rose, not minding the blood,
my heart in your hands.
this is how the story goes:
we meet years later, in a bookstore, or a coffee shop, or on a street out in the
middle of nowhere, i don’t know,
and i tell you i love you. i tell you i never stopped.
your eyes are still and bloodless. you nod yes but you don’t say a thing.
somewhere, a boy is holding his father’s gun to his head and trying to outrun
his ghosts. he comes close, but doesn’t die. doesn’t die at all.
have you learnt nothing yet? the story is coming to a close
we were just kids. we didn’t mean to fall in love.
we certainly didn’t mean for all this blood.
i take your hands in mine and tell you i love you. you nod yes but you don’t say a thing.