My hands swell with
palm oil on
My hair swoons
down my back,
all think-braided and glisten,
sweet like kola beans.
I want a man’s hand to feel
silk for the first time,
sulking in this womanhood,
woven by these fingers made for
his first child
Yams are waiting for warmth,
the fire hasn’t even been stoked,
the sun-dried dirt beneath my feet seeps
through my toes, searing their webs and
stings me—like he will.
Okonkwo strolls in the hut, muscled like
bison, all veins and punch-thrust,
strength of God.
His voice rolls through the valleys of my braids,
“Where is dinner?”
His eyes drive through my chest,
holding my lungs captive.
I can feel his fingers wrap around my throat,
snap my neck like an animal’s
I am his kill,
his raw meat dangling from hooks,
I am not fit for the love a woman deserves,
he tells me my bones are dry–
sucked of soul.
I am nothing but a man’s hip-struggle.
I am afraid of that nail-wrapping
fist-blaring feeling he calls
His fists swell with my marrow,
he looms over his carcass--
body bloody but breathing.
He will tell his men nothing of this.
Only God will speak on his actions,
steal the blood that runs from his fists and
his knees and make him
repent like the sinner he
The next time he will cradle my body and
pass his seed through me and calls for another
I will gash his barrel chest,
make him me—make him
make him carry God in his stomach,
slave over yams and palm wine,
drink himself drunk,
hungry over every cell that fought back.
Then he will see,
When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk.