Suffocating:

II
Model: Audrey Obuobisa-Darko

I.

I am sorry about your abuse. I am sorry that your uncles forced themselves into you. I am sorry you were too young to fight – too naive to recognize your captivity. I am sorry the bedroom walls turned to prison bars. I am sorry they took their turn on you. I am sorry your screams couldn’t shake the trauma — ricocheting back to your ears in surrender. Where was God then? Or Jesus? I am sorry you lost your faith before you even found it.

Your father chose not to believe you. Your father read the newspaper. As you knelt on the floor begging to be heard. Your father flipped the pages. As you spoke of his brothers. As you suffocated to the memories. Your loss of innocence. Your father jaded your soul. With his disbelief. Killing you softly. With his ignorance. Killing you softly. With his silence. Your father chose not to see the scars. Or the blood. Or the torn apart clothes. Or the arch in your back. Or the pain in your large, beautiful Yoruba eyes. Your father called you a “little whore” for lying. For speaking evil on his brothers. Your father. Your father taught you to apologize.

For being raped.

II.

You found out, years later, that your father sold you. He said your body was never yours to begin with. He died without apologizing. He died, and you found the strength to attend his funeral. You refused to give the eulogy. You let the silence sit with his soul.

May his soul burn in eternal hell.

III.

Your lover kisses your forehead. Your lover recites your name like a sensual poem. Akanni – your legs tremble. Akanni – your loins are filled with fire. Your lover kisses your lips. He knows your rhythm. Slow, yet intense. Your lover is a master at loving you. And you love that about him. He parts your legs. Gentle, yet firm. He caresses your thighs with his hands. Your chest arches. Consumed by desire. Consumed by fantasies about to be fulfilled. Yet. Yet you stop him. Before it goes too far. Before the pinnacle of lust. You tell him of your past. Of your uncles. Of your father. He knows. This not the first you have told him this. He knows. And he is tired. Of rejection. Of waiting. Of not being a father.

Your lover begins to rage. Fire rolls off his tongue. Like Satan’s wrath. You place your hand on his chest. You try to consul him. And gloriously fail. He… he calls you an “old whore”. A woman your age should be grateful to find someone – he says. He calls your body a graveyard. Of love. And hopes. And dreams. The bedroom walls turn to prison bars. Your lover escapes. And you remain captive – to a past you could not control.

Burnt.

The face of my forefathers.

men that smoked polygamy once.

and forgot to exhale.

men that –

stirred women.

– like fine wine.

between their tongues.

bitter sweet.

misogyny.

angry black.

women that –

breastfed.

– with both hands.

as if forcing a prayer.

into their children’s existence.

as if our lips.

– knew God.

as if we could empty

– the pain.

of father’s mistakes.

of men like.

– arsonists.

with petroleum for fingers.

women touched –

– between their thighs.

igniting sparks.

– sweaty nights.

deadly fights.

kisses from.

– other women.

– emotional tides.

– sons like.

– fire extinguishers.

– putting out.

– mothers burning.

– from your.

– fuckery.