“The Pain You Bear” by John Otroyin

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The Pain You Bear

The pain you bear in your heart you can’t say You can’t say not because you don’t want to

You can’t say because you can’t say

The veil you wear over your face you can’t tear It’s not yours alone, it’s your ancestors’

It’s not yours alone it’s the whole clan’s

The longing you feel from depths Too far to measure, you can’t explore

It’s a temptation you must endure

But for how long must you keep yourself caged? How hard must you try to conform?

How many reforms must you undergo?

Many a time you mean to say no, you say yes They become electric, and you’re depressed

A façade on, you smile, they’re impressed

You’re doing it for them, and the you(s) to comeIt’s a brave path, they say, you nodBut the pain you bear in your heart, you can’t say.

John Otroyin is a Nigerian. His piece came fourth for the NHCP short story competition. He holds a certificate of Creative writing specialization course from Wesleyan university Connecticut (MOOC). His works are on Nantygreens, Kalahari Review, TushStories, and PIN (poets in Nigeria) journal. He is an alumnus of Ake Festival’s Creative Writing and SSDA Hotel Flow Workshop. He writes on and enjoys being a Countertenor.

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