Mary’s Girl Child by Bryan Joe Okwesili

In the stillness of your room, you can hear a child singing, “Mary’s girl child, Zikora, was born on Christmas day” at the balcony. You can see the shadowy movements of Ekene as he leans forward and whispers into your ears, “We can do it once and never speak of it.”

You look away. Unsure. You feel your nipples hardening from the warmth of his breath against your neck. You wish to touch him, to kiss him. The feelings are mutual, but so are your surnames.

You have always known Christmas comes with brown harmattan dust, with fried beef and tiny bright lights at night. That Christmas could be merry, and drunk, and cold. But you have never known it to be sinful. This sinful. To look white, then grey, then black – the colour of bats.

“Njo, a sin?” You say to him. He looks away. You wonder what he is thinking about now, but cannot make out the expression on his face because the room is dark. No power, no tiny bright lights. Just a rising darkness.

It is a dark Christmas in Africa.



Bryan Joe Okwesili is a Nigerian realist. He grew up on the brown dust of Anambra state, embracing literature and finding solace in poetry. Now an adult, he is keen on telling diverse African stories. He loves soliloquy as much as he loves reading queer stories. His short fiction “IFE OMA” was featured in Erotic Africa- The Sex Anthology 2018 by Brittle Paper. Other of his works also appear on Kalaharireview, literallystories2014, Ilealo and Afrcanwriter. He is currently a student of law at the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

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