Two Poems by Amuchechukwu Nwafor

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Amuchechukwu Nwafor is a finalist in Day Eight’s annual open-to-all poetry competition, the DC Poet Project. Read more about the DC Poet Project here and attend the culminating reading event Saturday May 4, 2024.

Taboo

She’s heavy handed.
She puts too much pepper in her stew.
She addicted to leaving his mouthwatering
And numbing his taste buds, too

Her brown hands have an affinity
For remixing recipes.

She’s addicted to smothering love in violence
Marinating trust in control,
Melting away vocal chords,
And snatching up egos.

Her palms are coated in seasoning.
I see the bouillon all over his face.
Her love language is physical touch.
Her love language is taboo.
She knows
His eyes will always say more than his lips.
She knows
Real men aren’t supposed to flinch
At the taste of pepper.
He swallows the heat,
Chasing his silence with water.
I watch him try and water his seeds
With the fire on high,
While trying to avoid her boiling point.
Everybody likes a hot n spicy mami
Until they get scolded and burned.

In spite of the spice,
I hope there is still a little sugar at his roots.
A little cane juice to sip
To reset his taste buds.
A little cane juice to sip
When things get too taboo.

Suite Poetry

We smoke haze
and sip chocolate water on the bench
outside of the hotel.
We might be the only guests
native to the dying city.
The only evidence of a
chocolate city legacy.
We float down white hallways
like murals down U-street.
Within a few hundred square feet
of white towels and white sheets
we find our solitude.
We make ourselves
comfortable, and I pretend
we are a product of Marion
Barry’s dream. Our small hotel
room transforms into a penthouse
suite, overlooking the Wharf.
I watch your skin glow
in the evening sun.
The red orange skyline
perfectly illustrates our sentiments
of compassion and intimacy.
We take our place on the bed.
Our semi-sweet bodies absorb
what is left of the sun.
It is in moments like these
where I feel the safest.
I want to take you home
with me. Our escapades
across the city, have left me
yearning for permanent residency.
I try to be present. High above
the smog of the city’s traffic,
I am loved here.
Like the security deposit,
our plans slip through our fingertips.
Our long locs intertwined like vines
as we color the night
with our silhouettes,
with our cocoa hues.
I know that love is not
a jazzy R&B song.
Still, we play 50 shades of
Afro Blue underneath the stars.
And when I dream of the land
my soul is from,
I know I will find you there.
In the morning, I am greeted
by the light and nutty aromas
of jojoba and argan oil
as I lay with my face in your chest.
I inhale this sweet ritual.
I don’t inquire about check out time.
Not ready to head back
to our separate corners of the city
we linger into the afternoon.
You say you want us to
intentionally choose one another
and naturally, I’ve always chosen you.
If you give me your heart
to carry home,
I’ll give you mine.

Amuchechukwu Nwafor is a local writer, educator and teaching artist in the Washington, D.C metropolitan area. She is a first-generation born Black American whose poetry touches on the diaspora, mental health, and the female experience. She considers her poems to be still life paintings of intimate experiences, emotions and observations. Amuchechukwu has performed at Towson University, Pentagon City Fashion Mall, the Show Place Arena and many other places in the DMV. Her poems were recently published in the Maryland Bards Anthology and Day Eight’s Mid Atlantic Review. Through her writing she aspires to heal, grow and inspire people from all different walks of life.

Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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