Love in a Red Dress


By Chizitere Ojiaka

He liked my dress,

That’s what he said

With that glassy stare in his eyes that irked me.

His smile hung mischievously at one side of his face.


He told me I was beautiful

But it saddened him that I was wasting my beauty.

He said he’d show me how beauty was meant to be used,

With him, my Uncle-cousin.


My dress reminded him of that old song,

The Lady in red song.

My dress reminded him of a poem,

One he had written long ago.


That smile never left his face

Until he was gritting in pleasure.

Mom never believed me when I told her.

“I raised Tunde”, she said, “He’s like my son”.


That dress destroyed me,

I should never have worn it.

I should never have gone for the stupid party.

I should have stayed home and prayed.


I should have stayed home and locked my doors

Like I did every night

Since the first time Uncle Tunde told me he loved me.

I should have stayed at home.


Uncle Tunde loves me,

He told me so.

He’d take care of me,

He promised.


But he is not the man I love.

He is not the man I want.

But he is my blood

And he knows my beauty’s worth.


It feels wrong.

It’s the Red dress’s fault.

I should have stayed home.

I have to be grateful I have this love at least…



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