an invitation to lgbtq+ Africans

My entry into secondary school was marked 

By the rumour that I was a lesbian 

Spreading through the campus like wildfire. 

The words danced like flames on the tongues of those who whispered it. 

And the claim burned the ears of those who heard it, 

Setting whatever impression they’d had of me ablaze. 

There was not much proof to validate this rumor, 

Except for the searing anger of the boy who started it, 

The boy whose attempts to date me I had strongly rejected.

Proof was unnecessary, however, 

As most people drank his words 

Like they poured straight 

From the slack mouth of God.  

Many of the girls would run away as I approached them, 

As if my body was riddled with a contagious plague

That they were afraid to catch,

Some of whom, after the rumour died down, 

I would become friends with. 

Some of whom, after the rumour died down, 

Would let me touch them, 

And kiss them, 

And fuck them. 

And like the asshole I was, 

I would make sure to remind each of them 

That I was that very monster they had once run from. 

Realization and shame would blaze in their eyes 

Partially because they had hurt me, 

And partially because they had become me. 

Unfailingly, I would laugh at their reaction 

And plant a kiss 

To extinguish the flames.

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