No.13 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015


Our house girl is leaving today

back to her village

inside the bush

where her father stokes palm oil kernels

and drip drips the oil

smoked in the green bush

where the earth is ochre

and stained oil red.


Her father’s brother brought her at age nine

she with blood between her legs

and she never cried

but set to work pounding the yam

took the beatings when she dared to talk

or look across the yard at a guinea fowl

squawking by the cooking pot.


Elijah, chief cook at the elementary school

and husband to three wives,

is taking the girl

for his fourth

from her poor father’s house today.





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