But you want your women polite,
Always acting right.
You want them neatly packed in your tiny shiny boxes of
Girls love pink.
Women don’t drink.

You want them giggling and nodding.
You want them silent and hanging on walls.
You want your women dead and only alive to your call.
You want your women slaves, serving your course.

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You want them, these dead women your father and uncles have raised.
You want them, these dead women your brothers and cousins grew up with.
Although born to dead mothers, these women were born alive.
Your father and uncles have killed them, your brothers and cousins are still killing them.
You call them by name to bury them in your arms too.

All an attempt to have me dead.
I have had dead women tell me to die a little
Just so that I may be loved
Because men love dead women.
When the dead raise the living, do the living ever rise?

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You too here gently telling me to calm down,
To sit,
To not be that loud,
To die
Just so I don’t live to see the truth in your eyes, that you are just like me, merely mortal, nothing more.
Whispers in my sleep, die.
Whistles in the street, die.

‘’This voice is not yours, I will tell you when and where to use it”, die.
“And those words, you better shove them where they come from’’, die.
‘’Not that skirt’’, your clothes are not yours’, die.
‘’I will tell you how to wear your hair’’, die.
‘’That body doesn’t look right, better now, okay let me taste, I wasn’t asking’’, die!
Make room for the boy, die!

 

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Photo in Post image by Calvin Lupiya on Unsplash

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Mphae Charmaine Mashifane is a coffee lover who expresses her being in poetry. Her works have been published in journals such as Botsotso, Journal of Africa Literature, Poetry Potion and Visual Verse.