No More Nkem by Joy Chime


Bright colours…

That’s what I thought of when my lover swept me off my feet — literally — and spun, as I screamed in dizzying delight.

Happiness swirled in my stomach in bright colours: bold red, rich purple, warm blue, brilliant yellow, cool orange, hot pink…

He stared into my eyes, and I saw promises of a thousand tomorrows together, each one better than the one before,

promises that were somehow more potent because they were unspoken.

‘You are beautiful,’ he said, kissing my palm. ‘I do not say it often enough.’

‘I want another sunrise, another sunset, another full moon.

‘I want another harmattan, another Christmas.

‘I want, not just another, but many more 365 or 366 days, times 50, at least. And I want them with you, nkem. Marry me, ifeoma’m.’

He carried my yes with him back to his base; I held on to his promise that he would be back, no matter what.



Pale colours…

That’s what I thought of as I spoke with him on the phone: peach, silver, cream, sunset yellow.

He said he missed me in truck loads, that he could hardly wait to see me when he was on pass.

He said he dreamt of me every night.

He said he had to go on patrol so he would call me back.

He said many things.



Endless gray…

Grief lines my heart in thick dark clumps of dull, endless gray.

They said his jet was shot down as he was returning from the patrol, that it was clearly an ambush.

They said they had recovered his body.

They said he was a gallant officer.

They said many things.


I didn’t say anything.



When my lover died, I didn’t cry for two days.

The day before I did, his brother, who had been with me since I got the news said he had to go to work.

I laughed.

What a reminder!

My lover died and the world didn’t even miss a turn, just kept right on spinning.

He was my world, as I was his.

I will always know the shape and feel of you, nkem,

But, like air, I can never hold you again.

Joy is a mesmerising-eyed beauty who loves colourful things, laughs more than she smiles, reads more than she writes, and likes to eat more than she likes to cook. As a spoken word artiste, she is a wonder better experienced than explained, and as a professional editor and proofreader, she makes your work sparkle. She has performed on the Inside Out show on Rave TV, and is Managing Editor at IG & Twitter: @nothingbutjoyc || YouTube: Joy Nwamaka Chime

Discussion31 Comments

  1. Atlas! Yet another captivating tale.
    Held on to every word like it was a story only the gods could tell.
    Keep it going girl.

  2. Outstanding. Absolutely delightful.

    Colours revelled, seasons travelled, characters seamlessly bound in a tale fit for the galley.

    Written by Joy, of course.

  3. Great piece. I liked the way you made the emotions and the colors come alive in ‘7D’. It takes a lot of expertise to pull this off. And I know you have that in TRUCKLOADS. Keep it up, dear. I’m yet to see a piece from you that isn’t well-written.

  4. I love the way the different seasons and occasions came to play. I was hooked from the very first word to the last. Lovely piece.

  5. This is really beautiful (plus the fact that I read this in your “spoken words voice” -yes that’s a thing)

  6. This is good… Infact great. Its filled with emotions one would love to share, even the hurt is beautiful.

  7. I just read this in your spoken word voice and made those elegant hand movements you do in my head and how it made the reading experience all the more delightful. This is a beautiful one baby girl! Weldone. Held my attention from start to finish!

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