UNLEARNING THE LOVE MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME

BY KENZO TOBECHUKWU

But that is how you get hooked.    
They lure you in until
you are convinced that you
cannot function without. How selfish.
As if you did not
manage without, all this while.
They lay there. In your
thoughts.

Whisper, whisper when
all is quiet. Then they
go to the tips of
your fingers and do the
same movement that makes your
back feel tight in the
morning.

They turn you around, put
you down. Twirl your mind
as though the fabrics of
cloth wrapping it aren’t enough.
And then you give in.
Just one more time, you
tell yourself. Because sanity is
necessary even if it comes
from lies.

But when this thing keeps perforating
holes in your chest then gods
will whisper the singular choice
of protection to self.

But when you keep walking for him
in a race that he does not want to take part in,
you must turn to the side and leave.

But when you remember how much
it hurt because it hurts,
like a clock is grieving in the center of your body
then you must set free
the populous doves you are holding.

But when he turns the tides
and blames the pulling of the waves
from your inability to be smaller,
then swim away.

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