Poems by Ekene May
for every heartbreak story I tell her, my mother has spaces and a wardrobe to hang them in, folded neatly and tucked away for days when I will need them,
wear Tayo, he’ll suit you today, he can cover those eye bags perfectly, he loved to kiss your eyes, did you not say? maybe he was why you cried less or would you rather
wear Mark, he could add some colour to your cheeks, I know he was a kisser of foreheads, which meant he adored you, like those internet research told you,
even when you knew he had another woman, that he eventually left you for, don’t they always leave? there was no leaving, if he was never yours, he simple just faced his truth.
mother. . .mother nothing, you cannot lose what you never had.
wear Sam, was he Samuel or Samson? I want to know if he was a prophet or a fighter, were you a Delilah or a believer, did he also have another woman?
No, you were the first and only, but he left anyway? wear him, wear him like yesterday, let him go, your the one will come and we will not need this wardrobe.
we won’t be needing it today mother, I will not need to wear Sam, and it was Samson and no, I am not Delilah, I am Ekene May. I will be wearing me. I am out with the old so the new can see me, I see me.
burn the wardrobe and the clothes, mother, burn them.
learning to love myself is like baking,
. . .before I learnt how to bake, to love myself, to fall, to pull myself in, beat eggs until they became foamy, beat my heart to rhythms only I understand, whisk them, until they lost every trace of yolk and unease, mix butter and sugar into a fine smooth paste, like my tears and laughter, without traces of what sugar is or the oily sticky butter, tears and learn to stand alone
‘It has to be smooth and almost watery’ my sister would add, without offering to help.
you cannot teach a man worth.
. . .before I learnt to measure milk, a cup and half, like my worth, without cups, sieve the flour, 4 cups, add a pinch of nutmeg, and baking powder and soda, oil my baking pan, with the left -over of the butter, mix the flour and make the batter ready, add some trust and gratitude, get my mind and heart ready, set my local oven, like my stage and bake!
‘when did you place it in the oven?’ my sister would ask and add, ‘we have to time it’’
everything gets better with time, practice makes you better,
. . .before I knew how to bake, every cake I tasted was pure magic, heavenly, perfect, yummy, I never passed on cupcakes, even though they were a short-lived cake experience, like every sign of love that was passed to me, was pure and heavenly.
‘this cake is phenomenal’ my sister said, after a bite
it might take a while, but a girl eventually sees herself for who she is.
. . .and more.
before I knew how to love myself, every love I felt, the very little sign of it, was magic, pure, heavenly,
right now, some cake taste like dust.