Sometimes in the wind I cannot breathe. So much air around me— none inside of me. He is between my legs, he seeks freedom. I am beneath his words. He calls out to a God he has long forgotten, a God he only finds in the sun but curses at midnight. We are filthy, buried in the sheets of unholy prayers. We are hungry, filled with fires of regrets. The only name on our tongues are liars. Our voices mix with oxygen and our breath with light. We are scratching the back of lovers, hoping to feel life. Our hearts beat faster to death. Our nose breathes life. We beg for death but our bodies are not ready. We wake up in the morning and our legs have strayed far from each other, closer to the edge. Closer to the edge, I think, as my feet rummage for home on your floors. Buildings were designed to keep people in. People were designed to run away. Our feet are too heavy to walk on, but our hearts are so light for flight. We stay in this house, but we flew away long ago.
New love lies beside you as you think about old love. Lying in bed with a stranger; you are the stranger. You blame yourself for falling in love too fast and falling out too slow. Your dancing shoes have no soles, your love too, lost its soul. Moving on is an act of survival. The heavy breaths you hear beside you are from old love. But old love didn’t breathe heavy, always light, so light the memories are so faint, written in lead while trying not to push the pencil too hard, not to force the story to be what it wasn’t; to live longer than it shouldn’t. Old love was your favorite handbag. New love has its own handbag. You keep bringing things you forgot you had to the table. You keep finding items in common. Your chairs move a little closer to each other as you try to wade the cemetery. You keep building friendships. You keep exhuming the bodies.
Sharon-Rose Ibenu is from Kogi State, Nigeria. This is her first published work.