Muscle Memory: Poems by Abdullahi F. Arebi

Image: Sola Osofisan

Image: Sola Osofisan


You are too much light for me
You with your brown skin and slightly brighter teeth
You with your “I love you”s that you say like you mean
Really mean
Unlike mine that I recite like the ayahs of my youth
Mine that reflexively roll off my tongue
Like muscle memory from a time spent –
Reciting scriptures in the temple of an old love.



Be afraid
Be very afraid of people who tell you they love you,
But only where no one can hear
Be afraid of people who do not love you in the presence of a witness
Who do not build testaments to pledge their allegiance to your godhead
Be afraid of people who only whisper words of love and comfort between breaths,
Between sheets or dark alleys,
Between your legs.
Beware of people to whom I love you is only a prelude sex
Of people who say they love you but have never made love to you
Lastly, beware of people who are afraid to say they love you,
Even if they do
Love should be glorious and loud
Stay away from anyone who tries to love you with timidity
Love yourself before you let anyone else love you.



Ours is like the story
Of the match box,
and the match stick
Every time we kiss
We burn out a little bit
And leave each other
A little less
Than at the beginning

– but you’re the only one who ignites me.

Poems © Abdullahi Arebi
Image: Sola Osofisan

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