When father wanted to take a new wife,
he sang mother her panegyrics,
bought her the finest boubous from
a local shop, traced her wrinkled face,
her feverish hands, then forced his way
in-between her legs. We asked mother
how it felt being touched by a man
she knew would not see the daylight.
She said it was like waving goodbyes
with both hands, like juices of wheat grass
& silkworm milk, pushing into his tongue.
When father left, many things left with him:
first his name was scrapped from all
our school notes, then his bottles of vodka
relieved, mother’s falling hair, & his new
wife in the company of diseased men.
Mother said women with gaze at the ocean
have the beaches strewn into their eyebrows.
Said women with thirsty skin like hers,
parched tongue, & broken lips, end up
at the bottom of a boat, watching the blue sky.
Said women with breast lumps raised
with the tip of two fingers, go around flaunting
them, buying the latest decolletages in town.
Said Kyrzayda dared Cinderella to a dance,
her gangrene well hidden inside her shoe.