BEES IN AN ANTHILL
Ibiye, I want to unlearn you,
the way your braid tips stroke the small of your back
and wake the bashful gooseflesh above your waist beads.
Your ribs are a trebuchet beneath your breasts
pulling your heart to and away from me,
launching indifference at a million revs per second.
Your eyelids, a honey comb of dying bees.
Love should not blow hot and cold,
it is not a stone lost in the desert storm,
a hotplate at noon, an ice cube at midnight.
The road to your heart is a bamboo raft, moss-ridden and termite infested.
A farce of a bridge over a running stream racing towards its brothers at Ogbia,
Running late for the conclave
I am no good with words,
I am not Belema whose tongue rolls into a river dance when he woos the girls.
A damsel each festival and they are none the wiser.
My lips are black and protuberant from the songs I want to sing you
but bite back each time I see you with him.
Fingers entwined like reckless vines squeezing my throat and crushing my wind pipe.
No songs from this one.
Oh Ibiye, love is a song stuck on November’s lips.
A stillborn strangled in its sleep by a placenta that promised upkeep.
If I kept a record of every pebble flung into the river in rage
to drown out the throbbing ache in my chest,
I’d have a mountain named after you beneath the waves.
I will not be a remnant, an aftertaste, when the honey has had its fill of your lips.
He is no good for you
I can tell, with the way hubris buoys his cheeks
His tone, an octave higher, regales with tales of how he smashed into you
and watched your twin towers crash into rubble of rivers
Grains of stained sand and broken earth, convulsion and not so subtle moans
of his name and then mine in whispers of innocence lost.
He is no good for you,
I can tell because he is my brother and we share our father’s name.
Poem © Efe Ogufere
Image: Rod Waddington via Flickr (remixed)