By Emmeline Bisiikwa, Uganda:

I loved you before you kissed me,

Wait- maybe I have that backwards.

I loved you after you kissed me.

It felt like a glimpse of the rest of our lives.

And yet I wish you could take it back.

The little kisses all over my face,

The words, oh the words.

They are seared into my head and it hurts.


You fought this attraction with everything you had.

Each time we touched, you flinched

Like contact with me hurt.

Each time we didn’t talk,

You became frenzied like an addict.

I hate you. I love you.

I hate how each time we touch you run

I love how you touch me.


We did this all backwards,

Falling in love and being together

Each day we fell a little more,

And yet knew nothing about each other.

We’re strangers who feel too much.


I don’t know if you like to watch movies

Or what songs you like.

You don’t know that I like to text all day

And come home to cuddle in your arms.

Being with me makes you scared

And that’s just unfair.


We got this all backwards

We should have met at a bar

Got drunk and intensely honest

I should have told you I was heartbroken

Or maybe I would have told you to stay away,

Before I gave you my already broken heart.


I can’t write a poem to make this disappear

What I feel is more than words on paper

If I could, I would rewrite this mess

Where I love you but you’re scared

And so you scar me.

I’ll rewrite this whole thing

And there’ll be so much love,

You won’t be able to overthink it.