“What moves you?” you ask
Looking at me in a crowded room
As the crowd presses with its eyes
On the new victim of your unwanted curiosity.
But I will know that later.
That evening of dimmed lights and glasses half full,
I have nothing to say.
I know your gaze anchored to my unseeing eyes
Is a game you have played and mastered;
But a game that matters only to you
A personal victory that does not scratch the surface of another soul
Yet here I am writing about it.
Let me explain this.
You asked a question,
And I will answer it because the question
Let’s not presume it’s you.
You don’t know how far back
I have to scroll my photo stream
To find a picture of myself that I clicked
That I may like.
That show my eyes without the baggage
Of nights I lay trying to court sleep
He, like everything I desire, rejects me gently.
A picture of a friend pulling me close
To share the moment.
Of family that does not hand me the camera
To capture them, ever so complete without me.
Of any trace of my existence.
Further back, when a boy asked me
If I could honour him with my love
I refused to believe that my love is honourable.
No love that has rolls of fat
No love that has broken teeth
No love with pimples is honourable.
I shall get my share of loneliness
That my loud faults warrant.
Because anything good in me
Is swallowed by my lard.
A little before that, not long ago.
A woman whose womb I come from
Looked me in the eye and said,
I cannot love you anymore.
And she cut the umbilical cord.
She was free.
I was happy for her.
She was free
Of being tied to a millstone of disease
Of shame, of questions and worry.
She climbs mountains now,
Watches birds, flies with them.
The farther she goes away,
The closer my demons breathe.
A school bell rang and a gang of girls
With quieter laughs and thinner knees
Sat away from me.
When I opened my lunch to share with them,
They inched away.
I’ll have all of my lunch myself.
Yet I felt hungrier.
What moves me?
I don’t move.