By Derek Owusu
After a late-night library trip I’d call her and say, ‘Look at the moon.’ Black boys rarely speak on the poet’s muse so these twilight tropes seemed original – the moon is glowing new when seen through eyes deprived of cliché. She is bent over my windowsill – leaning out into the stars, a speckled blanket; if she reaches out it’ll be ours. When I walk into a peace that was never going to last. Her hair – the carefully trimmed ends tinged with colours, one close inhale reminding me of home, of all the unknown black girls through hair care I’ve known – glows, a lustre unchallenged, then the jealous moon lights her up and dissolves the dimness of my room. It’s all over her, she’s illuminated, and this bath of light reveals her lack of garments. Our eyes see through the ceiling as we lie with hands interlocked, talking into the day when the sun will want its turn to watch, rays on us as we fall in love. She turns onto her stomach and places a hand on my stubble – like pins in her palm, a sensation running up her arm – draws me closer and I’m disarmed, and with a kiss we’re surrounded by nothing.
That Reminds Me
‘A much-needed contribution to literature… profoundly tender, often wry and always sharply
observed… grants us a rare, nuanced glimpse into the world of a vulnerable young black
man, negotiating his identity in a complex and difficult world.’ (Okechunu Nzelu)
‘Honest, moving, delicate, but tough. Once you lock on to his words, it is hard to break eye
contact.’ (Benjamin Zephaniah)
Derek Owusu is a writer, poet, podcaster from north London. he discovered his passion for literature at the age of twenty-three while studying exercise science at university. Unable to afford a change of degree, Derek began reading voraciously and sneaking into English Literature lectures at the University of Manchester. Derek edited and contributed to Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space. That Reminds Me is his first solo work.