I Do Not See Your Smile Alone By Peter Kwange

I had a friend in secondary school

Who told me of how she was just 8 years old but knew

what it felt like to be threatened by a man,

to live with the fear of knowing that the world would fall

upon your shoulders if ever a day comes that you say a word

about what happened between you and your uncle behind curtains

How he locked a voice in your head that screamed things like

“I’ll flog with my belt, I’ll break your legs, I’ll remove your eyes, I’ll bury your body 6feet into the ground and no one will ever see you again”

And so my friend was silent for 5 years.

for 5 years she learnt how to cherish every sunrise

because sunset was a time that came with darkness, banging and tears,

sunset was a time that came with fresh wounds and scars.

sunset was the time fresh songs were composed in the bed.

for 5 years she understood why every caged bird sings.

knowing that you’ve been trapped in one place for so long and all people can see is your smile,

These days, when I step out of the house and see other girls outside

I do not see your smile alone or hear your sweet voice, or watch the elegance in the way you walk.

I see the probability of how much your heart has been crushed by a man that should have protected you.

Peter Kwange is a passionate spoken word artist who studied mass communication at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai. He enjoys photography, painting, reading and travelling. He is the author of ‘Deflowered’. Kwange’s poems have been in several journals. He is the co-founder of JUSTFORWORDS. Peter Kwange is a member of the HILL-ToP Creative Arts Foundation.

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