My father plays a song aloud on Sundays,
that begins with ‘Where’ve you been my blue-eyed girl?’
We scream on the other side, the
next-door neighbor who is 65,
(steals our rain-water overnight)
and wakes to a full pee-bucket, the body of a whale,
and balls of fart, giggling their way out,
pours a barrel of curses after him.
We don’t mishear,
before straining our biceps by stretching,
and groan to drown out laughter.
Girls aren’t moulded to get amused
(at a man’s (in)convenience).
Someone’s father once made a portrait of my body burning.
Then said, ‘Never play couple with other street girls.’
He feared he’d hear me whisper to his daughter,
how, like a caged weaver bird, a woman
glued to a man’s skin, she was,
but patience wasn’t her by-word,
so she asked if I’d like my coffee black or milked.
I may never tell him about nights when I walked and crawled
over many misty mountains,
when we became ghosting girls hiding in unfinished buildings
to find god in each other’s bodies.
But once, two pebbles discovered asylum under her breasts.
The doctor said he saw a few more things, like visions of her
blood pooled into Lake Tanganyika,
waiting for more birds to drop pebbles into them.
I longed to tell him how birds should never have to
circumvent with stones pegged between their beaks
(vultures are men with skull-and-crossbones or preachers
or fishers of wo-men who love wo-men),
how a girl swiftly became
a rapid phrase on a saxophone,
a stick-sketch in an Other’s drawing book.
About the Author:
Chisom Okafor studied Nutrition and Dietetics at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His works have been published or are forthcoming in various literary outlets.