(tenderness being a name)

this body is robed in the weight of
things i cannot say

like :
yesterday, a lady wanted knowledge of
my favourite drink
i went into the night of me
searched for your name
– for its softest version –
then gave it to her
she gawked uncertainly
repeated the question

again, i gave your name
this time rimmed by a giggle

like :
my body stills into air in the aftermath of
each time your silence begins over it

like :
many times,
i turn you into a melody,
dip you into a procession
of clicking liquids
and wait until you hum me into
what must be the arms of freedom

like :
each night,
i clench and unclench my heart
in an
(a) unknown tongue
(b) effort to undo you

like :
each time, i fail

      (for tenderness)

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu writes poetry and prose, delves into essays sometimes. Her work has appeared in The Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper, EXPOUND, Praxis Magazine, Afridiaspora, and elsewhere. She writes from Nigeria.

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