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Photo credit: Marco Bianchetti. Source: Unsplash.

Somewhere in the north, above red earth and foils of prayers,

the smell of wet henna fights to outlive the aroma of tuwo.

A bride is soaked in coconut oil and pampered with ori.

Her eyes, the vision of a dancer.

She remembers yesterday: covered in clay and youngness, how

she ran in the rain, naked, with her brothers, how

her mother screamed, This child! You’ll catch a cold.

Today, her mother whispers: By this time tomorrow, you’ll be a woman.


Somewhere in the south, mothers look at their daughters with

blood-red eyes, mouth filled with soured oil, and chest heaving with righteous hate

They routinely say, You’ll save yourself for marriage. It is the adage of their mothers

and their grandmothers and the mothers to their grandmothers.

They swallow the screams of these daughters, while they

spit into young vaginas and stitch them up.


Somewhere in the east, where pythons dance in streets, each

step a grave that is not a grave. Just a shallow thing.

A mother looks at her weeping daughter who was meal to four pythons while

she watched, praying the neighbours are cursed with deafness.

She says, Only God can judge them.


Somewhere behind your nose,

two girls surrender their wetness to the ashes,

and become one as their souls escape the torture of


of wearing another being

of kissing boyfriends and crushing on their sisters.


Somewhere, everywhere,

we are

women teaching women how to be





Golden Anurika Ahuchaogu is a writer and music enthusiast from the Eastern part of Nigeria. She writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Her work “Tobenna” has appeared on Praxis Magazine.

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