when a boy says i love you

when a boy says “I love you”

this poem is for the sisters
and the generation of women
renting this body with me
this poem is for all coloured girls
umber, sand, warm ivory, ebony,
and all colours of the rainbow
this poem is for all women
of all hair types and heights
so before i let these words
baptise your souls into a new
form of salvation
grab your pillows and hairnets,
sugar scrub and nail polish
put on your lingerie
to compliment your
perfect body shapes
put on your night gowns and crowns
put on some lipsticks and attitudes
get a bottle of red wine
and hear me out
as i preach this sermon

when a boy says “i loves you”

do not get too excited by how
letters like electricity escape
from his mind and gets absorbed
to the permeable layers of his tongue and lips
do not let yourself feel too invited
because he tendered those words to you
like an apology, like crushed berries
like sugar, oh sugar is sweet
but don’t you be too blind
to the side effects of addiction
and sugar just like
his middle name can increase
your risk of heart disease

when a boy says i love you
pretend he just passed a line
from his favourite rap
do not feel too wanted because his fingers
just like creeping plants works so well as a camouflage
to cover for areas you might want to hide
or simply give a softer look
kissing your right hand like a queen
with full humility into thinking that
the only way he understands begging
is to just taste sweet with you

when a boy says i love you
it wouldn’t be the last time
you will hear these words
you’ve only officially been invited to the many more to come
so don’t already imagine every scenario of things that could go
right on that day
because there are still left more minutes until your alarm rings
more minutes to get yourself from bed
more minutes to walk to the bathroom
more minutes to stop and look at your face
in the mirror
more minutes to confront the scar on your left cheek
and the wound you conceal so perfectly with your make up
more minutes to think and ask how much you even
love yourself
and by yourself i don’t even mean the inner beauty something
you hide your insecurities in and quickly release the pressure
building inside before you finally explode
but by yourself i mean your face, your eye lids, your nose,
your lips, your collar bone, your spine, your breasts,
your fingers, your nails, your toes, your ears, your stomach
your thighs, your feet, your whole damn woman self

i talk a lot sorry
but when a boy says i loves you
that isn’t like coming home with a trophy
he doesn’t mean he loves you like
how he loves his mother
how he loves his favourite sport
how he loves his dog
how he loves hanging out with his friends
how he loves betting
how he loves how he dislike books
how he loves pidgin
how he loves waking up at dawn to queue at the
american embassy for a visa

when a boy says i love you
do not squint
do not blink
do not blush
reduce the lump growing inside
your throat and do not trust your
mouth to deliver any bitter word
or the sweetner in your heart

when a boy says i love you
don’t you ignore
but let me remind you
that he is just a boy
and you are just a girl
and before you say i love you too

please please

give some to yourself
the kindness you carry in your heart

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