Ola W. Halim

By Ola W. Halim 

(for all albinos battling skin cancer) 

my skin eats itself daily
until all left of it is

my skin is
a sketch work of shiny reds, charred browns, pulpy whites, and fruity pinks

a polka-dot bed of blood
dead fleas stuck to glass
maroon starlets
strewn about a sepia sky

‘auto-dermatophagia, you mean? / no man, this is skin cancer / melanoma, actually’

my dermatologist’s voice is calm

‘you don’t have melanin / to fight the ultraviolet, LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE, man / so stay away / from the sun / as much as you can’

this is what he means:
my skin is
a vindictive villain in a dystopian film
but instead of homicide
it commits measured suicide
slowly, drip-drop, pit-pat
induced by the ultraviolet

who raises a squadron of red boils and
distributes them across its surface like videotaped philanthropy

and when the boils ripen
my skin harvests pus
and coagulated blood
leaving behind a casualty of keloids
morphing from dread to death

this will continue to happen
because i can’t
stay away from the sun as much as i can
or does food develop wings
and perch atop a man
counting the rosary as he
waits for sunset?

Ola W. Halim writes fiction and poetry in Edo State, where he also teaches English Language and Literature. He won the LitFest Prize for Prose for his short story, “Miracle”. His work has appeared or is forthcoming on the Kalahari Review, African Writer, Dwartsonline, ARTmosterrific, Lolwe, etc. Halim can be reached on Twitter @OlaposiH and Instagram via ola_w.halim.



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