June’s Flowers by Natalie Sifuma

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    Colourful nude painting of two black women lying together
    Photo Credit: @artistically_d on Instagram

    We are flowers sprouting in a desert of homophobia. 

    Our petals are bright, and our leaves have uncoiled, despite the cold. 

    It is Nairobi in June.

    Everywhere you walk, we exist; some of us visible, others peculiar in our own way. 

    Even in this time when our freedom is limited, we remain true. 

    True to our pasts that have seen us condemn ourselves for the people, physically formed like us, that we have been attracted to. 

    The violence we have endured because of our presentation – too masculine, ‘un-womanly’; too feminine, ‘not how men should be’. 

    But words are at the top of the hierarchy. They have given us sleepless nights and placed us in a dark hole because of the mouths from which they came. 

    Still, despite these ashes, we rise.

    In this battlefield that the church has labelled morality, we remain steadfast in who we are. 

    We share our stories, we speak openly about our desires. 

    Pins to our sweaters and rainbow flags in our rooms and on our phones, we continue to boast our pride.

    We are the flowers that sync in love this season,

    A garden, much superior to a bouquet.

    We stand for survival. We stand for our love. In this togetherness, we are assured victory.

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