Peju Alatise’s Art
I put my heart and soul into
molding a clay pot for you.
You didn’t ask or beg me to,
but for some reason, at that time,
it was the thing that I cared most about.
In the course of molding and shaping,
I asked if you would let me drink
from it when I was done,
if I ever got thirsty.
Looking back, I’m not sure if I had asked for too much,
or I had said something terribly wrong,
because the resounding “no!” that I heard
cut me deep in the soul.
At that time, I would have become water for you
whenever you were thirsty,
if you wanted me to.
I would have fed you milk from my breasts
and honey from between my thighs if you wanted,
and maybe that was too much.
Maybe too much was asking for me instead,
so he could cut me in the throat.
On my 21st birthday,
you told me to break the clay pot,
and when I was done with breaking it,
you stepped on it.
I cried and begged and said
I could start all over again,
and I was sorry,
and I wasn’t one to use clay pots,
and I didn’t really want to drink with yours,
and I loved and fantasized about plastic plates instead,
and my question was hypothetical,
but you didn’t want to hear it.
I got so vulnerable around you,
and I always wanted to tell you everything,
and maybe I shouldn’t have been like that, you know,
maybe I should have kept some things to myself.
Ten days of depression.
Ten weeks of uncontrollable tears.
In ten weeks, I gained so much weight.
In the next ten weeks, I lost so much,
so much weight,
so much happiness,
so much zeal,
so much reason to live,
so much you.
Before the spirits took me away,
I looked for you
and waited for you
and cried for you but
I didn’t see you.
Where were you?
It’s the tenth month, and you’re back,
not for me,
not for the pot,
but for the clay.
You’re going to pretend like you didn’t squish the clay?
Like it’s a sweet new day today?
Like you didn’t send me away,
and nothing happened yesterday?
The karmic tie is broken
and I’m done.
Stay in your lane
and I’ll stay in mine.
I wanted to squish you
the way you did me.
I was a sensitive thing.
It’s not worth it anymore,
those days have passed,
and I’m glad that I, at least,
got to kick you at last.