She clutched me in her clay coloured arms
Frail and thin
Bruised from the warring earth.
She suckled me from her fallen breasts
Beaten of life.
She laid me on her chest
Her heart thumping like a steady drumbeat.
She told me
You will not be catfish
Point and kill.
They will not choose you like they chose me.

You came with an entrance
Umbilical cord wound so tight around your neck
Like hands pressing against your throat I feared you would brake
Your silence was deafening
The longest I had ever heard
The air was stiff
And my world stood still
But you came
This thing starry eyed with a head adorned in a kinky bouquet
From dancing ekonmbi in my womb
Summersaulting to praise songs
You came with an entrance
Shrugging those shoulders
Believing you had arrived
You barely listened
Hear me when I say
You will not be catfish
Point and kill
Wriggling like a worm
Devoured as prey
Licked to the bone
You my dear are royal
You came with an entrance
You must tell your daughters this tale
That they will not be catfish
Point and kill
They will not choose them like they chose me


Post image by Antonio Prats Ventos via Manufactoriel

About the Author:

Portrait - UdobangWana Udobang is a journalist, writer, poet and gender activist living in Nigeria. She currently works as a radio presenter/producer at 92.3 Inspiration FM in Lagos. Visit www.wanawana.net for more her work. Follower her on Twitter: @misswanawana and on Instagram: @mswanawana

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

One Response to “Catfish | by Wana Udobang | An African Poem” Subscribe

  1. Celestine Chimmumunefenwuanya Victorson 2015/07/14 at 3:52 pm #

    Suffuses an infectious wit and candour and plunging the mind to the space of deepest mental reflection. The poem’s simplicity drove me. And i enjoyed the ride. I swear!. A poem must not flow with complex puzzling words before it is called ‘a good poem’ and the poet opined and affirmed just that here. Love you ‘darlin’. you’ve got the talent strech it out k?

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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