My friend Adanma is going to war.
not in her swirly Manchester wax wrap
She’ll be clothed in a khaki bomb- strap.
Her brother used to tell her
Only men went to war.
That women’s breasts were too large
for crouching under branches.
(Adanma daily uproots groundnuts
and blows on ashes to revive her fire).
That they are not strong to carry army packs.
(She piggy-backs her three year old,
and a market load on her head).
And women could never master the workings of a gun,
nor the camouflaging of a tank.
(In five, she can extract dead fowl’s giblets,
and split spiteful peppers in her teeth.)
My friend Adanma is off to war
not in the gun-toting, ceremonial clothing
sliding under enemy line approaching
equal to a man soldiering
She is going Chief Captain of Carrying.
The goat her captors will rip apart
over the celebratory victory fire
costs more than her womanly life.
She will have splattered her own people
with the same blood they share.