Birthmark

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi, from the series Eripa.

Since colour is country
at every new moon
a body speaks a new tongue
you do not know this yet
as you do not know that big men
in little girl’s bodies grow
become strangers in themselves

The day is the colour of guilt
when you tell a girl you love her
the day is the colour of rain
when you kiss her
before she tells her mother
before neighbours fold into wallets of prayer
and ask what you seek in their daughters’ throats.
‘Birthmark’, you say.
Love is a birthmark

Naked
there are two you-s
God stares back from the mirror
‘Why?’, you mumble
all the books in the world
and no answers
all religions of the world
and no cure

But colour is country
and every new moon
your body speaks a new tongue
you know this now
as you know the many
who are not the flesh they wear
make home in their shadows.

Daisy Odey

Daisy Odey writes from Jos in Nigeria. Her poems have appeared in Enkare Review, Ake Review, Kalahari Review, Afridiaspora, Praxis International Women’s Day Anthology and others.

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