I’M NOT ‘THE CHIBOK GIRLS’

I’M NOT ‘THE CHIBOK GIRLS’
I’m not ‘The Chibok girls’
I’m Aisha’s daughter, her third child
Tomorrow is my birthday and I want chocolates
Not a photo op with men in manes,
Men with Kalashnikovs for walking sticks

I’m not ‘The Chibok girls’
I’m a student
Savouring pages of vintage books
Swotting now to ease sweating, at testing times
I dominate the libraries like ‘matter’ –
‘anything that has weight and occupies space’, we’re taught

I eat the freedom pie
You need to see the outspoken countenance of once reticent reagents
on mounting the podium of my pipettes,
Beakers,
And round-bottom flasks.

I’m not ‘The Chibok girls’
I’m Luka’s twin sister
Raised by farm-hardened hands
I thirst for the taste
of his bragging breath
Mingled with our mum’s praying sweat
I’m a schoolgirl
At home in giggling company –
Joan’s and Maryam’s and Hannah’s and Hannatu’s and Jummai’s and Grace’s –

I’m a girl
I wear no toga
only my name tag
and – atimes – a sanitary towel.
I’m not a bargaining chip
I’m not an index, some indicator
of bad governance or good governance or no governance!

I’m not ‘The Chibok girls’
I’m a girl, not a chapter in history
I’m not someone’s defence shield
I’m not a tool in the gloved hands of a martyr-maker
Only the mouthpiece in a flute, my mum’s mirth-maker.

I’m no Pearl Habour
Nor a trigger for a reprisal zinger.
I’m not someone’s prize:
What manner of conqueror gloats with a minor’s pubic heist?
I crave no place in folklore
But if I must enter it, it will be by my derring-do
Not that of hooded men
I shall not enter history from the pity page
I count my years as pedestals of dreams.

– Anaele Ihuoma

I’M NOT ‘THE CHIBOK GIRLS’ I’m not ‘The Chibok girls’ I’m Aisha’s daughter, her third child Tomorrow is my birthday and I want chocolates Not a photo op with men in manes, Men with Kalashnikovs for walking sticks I’m not ‘The Chibok girls’ I’m a student Savouring pages of vintage books Swotting now to ease […]

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