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stars are big suns

we were taught how to kill roaches and rats but we were not taught how to express love. we were told that affection oft offered is destined to become a doormat. trampled. shun just like the sun! we see how the sun burns; how it smiles everyday and how nobody looks at it. they say it’s too clingy and they turn their eyes away// we were told to starve our sun – our love – until they become little fragments – say, stars. we were told love must be dished in bits and that love is like tomato stew – its impact most felt when there’s little of it to grace the rice. and true, people moon at their windows & watch the small stars with yearn in their dreamy eyes// we were taught how to weather the storm. we were told that the rain was the voice of a woman’s eyes and we were taught the language of thunder – the language that scalded ‘i–love–yous’ from our tongues – which is why at 7pm every day, we come home with a mouth filled with men beating anvils on our tongues. all sparks! //these men in our mouths are not us, mind you! because, away from home, our mouth is nest for nightingales and finches// at 7pm, we watch our house dissolve into silence. we were told that this is a sign of reverence but we were not told that the space between fear and reverence is as thin as dying breath. we watch our sons, in later years, bark and become barks of old mango trees. they cloud their suns – their love – to impress us. we watch them become us// we age. we start to lose our light and venture closer into the throat of darkness – into death. our sons watch over us as we become falling stars// in their eyes, we see questions on their knees begging to be answered. their eyes ask whether they have impressed us. their eyes shakily ask whether we love them. we want to say yes, but love is a foreign language now so the words slide down our throats like phlegm uncoughed. we only know steel. so we say to them: “steel yourself”. it is the same thing we were told// we watch them walk away into space until they become setting suns; then they thin until they become stars too. we were wrong, though, about stars being fragments of the sun. geography says stars, although distant, are bigger than the sun. so we did love – only from afar.

Abdulbasit Yusuff is a lover of arts and literature who enjoys writing short stories and experimenting with poems. He earned a diploma in Science Laboratory Technology at The Federal Polytechnic, Bida. Some of his works have been published on Tuck Magazine, Kalahari Review, Echelon Review, Prachya Review and Spark of Hope: an anthology of poems for saving lives. Abdulbasit writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

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