Candy Coated Unicorns And Converse All Stars by Inua Ellams

She asks what I’m crying for

I tell her it’s the same thing dolphins are dying for,
that in my last life I was ultramarineian and though
now I am a land lover, I often re-swim the blue;

These tears are re-washed waters of B.B. King’s
daughters, plugged into the ocean’s floor, re-sorrowed
and renewed, these tears are the Blues in Bloom.

I ask her what she’s crying for.

shoulders slump, head rises. Bloodshot are the whites
of her eyes and her pupils sparkle bright black.
Her legs begin to buckle, I catch her before she hits
the café floor and in my arms she whispers between sobs

it’s the same thing you’re crying for

that in the last hour, her boyfriend was a boxer and
her jaw will testify. As she says this, her whole body sighs
as if to speak makes it a truth she can no longer deny
and I half carry half drag her to the coffee table

The café is littered with newspapers that tell bitter
fables of war in the Middle East. Snatched snippets
of its distant screams pierce this bubble
of brown water and baked yeast

she tells of her boyfriend of a beast, as she speaks
blood drips from her broken lips, slips into her coffee cup
before I can stop her, she takes a sip

It’s a thing going where it should not be and I’m hoping
she goes against her blood and let the beast be
because no one has the right

between sobs, she is holding to this broken love, like a war
torn mother holding to a dying child, whose watery eyes
won’t let her see it’s all in vain

I squeeze her shoulders, hold her hand, tell her it’s okay,
let it rain. We’ll be here when the smoke clears, we’ll still
be two strangers wearing old school trainers swapping tears

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that
we are powerful beyond measure. This means we can reason
faster than speeding fists, can whisper louder than atomic
voices can dream bigger than nuclear slaps and the only
excuse that could stand is not having enough pillows
to go round

But we are fearful.
So in this new wasteland of coffee cups and couches
I will be brave.

I will dare to dream a candy coated unicorn in this bruised
princess, mistake cold hot chocolates for Kenyan beer,
crunch ice cubes like frozen river water.

And when backpacks become brief cases and this table
stables wars we will sit and converse

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