By Felly Oyuga

Yesterday I shared life, hot blood gushed from my veins into tubes.

They say the only way to avoid a wizard is to have cold blood. I can’t be what I am not.

So you followed my scent. Hot blood scent. Happy. Lively. Optimistic.

You laid a trap. You snared me like a chameleon to be used in a portion.

I am not a reptile.

When I was younger, I laughed till I cried when I was happy,

I cried till my eyes got swollen when I was sad.

You used to hold me when I cried, and laughed with me when I laughed.

Now when I cry you mock me. When I laugh you sneer.

Now I must have thick skin.

I must be cold.

I am not a reptile.

You are my biggest tormentor. You break me with your cruel words. No one can see the scars.

You are wicked. I do not want to be with you.

But they tell me I must grow thick skin. For the children they say. Be grateful he does not beat you.

Even when I do not moisturize my skin, it can never be like that of a crocodile.

I am not a reptile.

I was never hard. Your loud words threaten to toughen me. My strength is in my tenderness.

You say I am rigid when you touch me. I am dry.

Your evil dried me up. Your harsh words, your mean eyes have left me with nothing to give you.

You try to make me feel weak for crying. You want me to think I am crazy.

You call me bitter.

I am hurt. My skin is not thick. I am not cold.

I am not a reptile.

I should not talk when there is company. I say foolish things.

I must sit quietly and nod like a lizard.

I must not have opinions. You are right. I am stupid. To want to be what I am not.

Yet they say I must not cry. It will make you think you have won.  ‘ Common girl, grow thick skin!’

Maybe you have won this round.

Because I am not a reptile.

I lay next to you at night. I watch you when you are at your most vulnerable.

How I wish I was a reptile now. A venomous snake. An Indian cobra. Or a Black Mamba.

My blood cold. My skin thick. My movements swift.

My bite poisonous. Paralyzing.

My tormentor crushed by the monster he created.

But I am not a reptile.