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How to hurt a thing


4. Hurl stones at it
Her made-up face is a plate of festering sores
In my mouth, she says I grind my teeth into pieces of rock
She says when I call her names, the words strike her
Like stones.

3. Light a fire beneath it
When we meet, our eyelids flap like butterflies
Or moth wings. Both of us giant moths dance
Towards a bright red bulb to absorb light
And heat.

2. Flog it
She hands me a belt
In the middle of a heated exchange and says softly
‘Spank me’

1. Sing it lullabies
She says ‘To really hurt a thing,
You only need to make it fall in love with you’


Mobolaji Olawale practices medicine day and night in Nigeria. Some of his literary works are on Brittle Paper, Afridiaspora and Kalahari Review. He tweets from @theBolaji

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