The longest piece you might read today

  1. WHO YOU CALL BOY On days like this, I conclude a boy’s face is an emoji. A million shades but is permitted to use a specific one. All he has left are fragments.

  2.  WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE The pressure is much. You can see it through his pale eyes poking him. Deflating his puffy cheeks. So, he wears a grin.

  3. JUST A SELFIE Here, these memories linger like a screenshot. He sneaks into his room, behind closed doors, caressing his picture to see the lie left in his eye & pain squatting in his veins.

  4. MEMORY LOSS I have lost count of the number of times I stretch my jaw. You call that yawning. But I remember Mama always ordering Abike to dish food on my plate.

  5. WHAT I DO BEST Cross my legs, fiddle my phone. She serves the food, I scoop a mouthful, devour the meal, crush the bone, quench my thirst, belch and wait for the lumps to slide down my oesophagus. Then stretch & sleep.

  6. MY SCORE CARD Don’t give me that look. Afterall, mama says a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Now, I can’t even boil a concoction or steam a lie to save my life.

  7. THE BRACKET At home, we have a policy. So, it is my duty to wash cars not plates. Don't let anybody hear that, they say. Utensils are fragile, they would slip off your fingers and crash. Such an eyesore.

I have an alarm clock, ticking in my earbuds each morning, that reminds me how to be tough and hard like a rock not soft like a pompous agege bread. It’s a taboo

  1. ROUTINE Same warning I got on a Saturday morning, do not laugh or chatter in public. A smile would do. Look stern, you are a man. Why would you expose your dentition? It is healthy to sob in your mind. A sacrilege to shed tears. Let it not be heard that you broke down in tears. Alu!!! Amadioha would disown you.

  2. THE PARAMETER FOR BEING A BOY CHILD I dress with swag, cheeks blushing.
    Come on, Bruno, it’s not ideal to wear pink/ turquoise. You don’t look masculine enough. It’s too flashy. A man is meant to wear dull or cool colours.

  3. SQUARE ROOT I dust my palm, white particles of powder litter the floor. A mini shrine. The fragrance filter the room. Amina storms in onlooking as I dab my face.

It’s not ideal to spend time staring at the mirror. She says; powders are exclusively for ladies. Don’t let anyone see you doing that.


A girl is a hyperbole
A subtle exaggeration

  at the brink 
                      of shrinkage

 And this boy remains 

                 a metaphor 
                                       in shreds 

          Cast into the abyss

 Dribbled like  a football 

     An aquarium  
                                So he floats

it’s obvious he doesn’t belong here


©️ Michelle Nnanyelugo

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