Image © Ogunlesi Paul Oyetunde 2020

by Ugochi Okoli July 30, 2020

The last time I saw Nkem,

His tongue was in my mouth

It moved in ways that echoed things

Our lips would never make into words

The things we weren’t allowed to do

But we did


We did everything but spoke of nothing

We had conversations with our bodies

Listening to the intensity of our touch

To the beating of our hearts

The depth of our breath

But we hid


He was an unveiling

The discovery of a different kind of chaos

More felt than seen

More peaceful than catastrophic

He was sunshine in the rain, a cliché

But yet, real


He said “I love you” for the first time

In the corridor of my Yaba flat

His arms were wrapped around me

As though we had forever to live in our sin

I wondered what his wife would think

If she heard


Five years have gone by

In a crowded Lekki mall

I can read his body language

Better than my doctor’s prescription

I want every part of his flesh against mine

But should I?


What would he do if he knew?

That I still think of his hands on my skin

At breakfast with my lover, Khalil

What would he do if he knew?

That cancer has given me a few months to live

And I want to mess up our lives with it


*Lekki and Yaba are towns in Lagos, Nigeria


Nkem is a poem about finding love in the wrong places and how we become drawn to people that are not necessarily healthy for our conscience but great for our hearts. How being a mistress is considered socially and morally wrong but who teaches the heart to heed social constructs?



Ugochi is a writer from Anambra State, Nigeria. She is a graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University and an avid reader. When she is not reading, writing or fighting the patriarchy, she is working as a Communications Officer with NGOs’ to improve the condition of education in Nigeria through policy making. Her works have been published in magazines in Nigeria, India and UK. Ugochi hopes to connect with, teach and heal people through writing. You can find her on twitter @ugochi_ng.

Ogunlesi Paul Oyetunde is from Ogun State,Nigeria and was born on the 14th day of November 1994 in Lagos,Nigeria. He is a graduate of the prestigious Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria, where he obtained Higher National Diploma in General art and Higher National Diploma in Fine Art (Majoring in Painting). His works are created from the inspirations drawn from his yesterdays, his views concerning environmental and social-political issues, all that hovers in his environs and his high hope in the morrow, laid out with series of countenances. He worked as an IT student in Defactori Art Studio under Akintunde Olajide John. And he has participated in different Art Workshops and Exhibitions that include: The Art for Peace Workshop, The GFA workshop and other group exhibitions both in and outside Nigeria. His works have been collected both in Nigeria, Australia, The UK and the US.

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