Dear Khanyisa

I think I was 21 here :-)

My next poem is going to be about how much I love myself. I will read every poem I ever wrote to a lover and use those words on me. I’m not ready to write this poem but when I am…It will read.

Dear Khanyisa,

What a perfect name for a woman who carries so much light. How did they know your smile would light up a room the way it does when they named you. Remember when your ex told you “you shine like your name”…? Well, you do baby girl; even in moments when darkness tries to overwhelm you. There you stand, strong in your truth; shining like your name.


Remember how sad you were in high school? That day a group of boys laughed at how big your feet are. You heart their laugh all through university and then one day; you snapped “how ridiculous would I look if I were this tall and had small feet?” You convinced yourself that you love you big feet, you eventually loved your big feet and now look at where your big feet have carried you…sixteen countries and counting.


There was also that day, when you stood up for a stranger who was being sexually harassed by a tall Nigerian man; in a club full of tall Nigerian men. You broadened your shoulders, looked him square in the eye and dared him to touch her again. He didn’t. You do this a lot, shove your fear to the side and fight for strangers and sometimes loved ones. Your instinctually shield and protect.


You are rough around the edges and I love it. Some have called you sweet, other rude, they’ve said you have FUCK OFF written across your face. You spent time trying to fix this, your unacceptable dualities. Then, just like you did with your feet, you decided you love how unpredictable you are; how unboxed you are. You decided that you actually prefer kind over nice, compassion over sweet, conviction over mean.


I read those poems I wrote to those lover and this is what I’d say to you:

  • You are my favorite poem. I read you every morning. I read you every night and every time feels like the first.
  • You are my favorite love song. Offbeat and out of tune but a perfect melody to me. This is what it means to be perfectly imperfect.
  • Your eyes, so soft, so strong, so kind. How I melt when you look at me. I pray they are filled with love even in days when piss you off.
  • I love you at worst more than I do at your best.
  • I love you everyday more than I did the day before.
  • I love you in every moment of everyday.

This will be my next poem.