It’s the dawn. The crickets back to their holes, the dew light; the smell of nature overpowering,
It’s a village; nameless to the world. A world in itself; filled with remnants of generations long gone,
The sound of feet shuffle through the damp grass; old women softly grunting, the petrified girls counting their steps; some of the young ones cry out their discomfort. It is way too cold to be outside,
The sky grey and heavy, the procession of the women quite strategized, no one spoke.
She looks back. The ‘good’ men stand at the doorways of their houses watching with the boys at their sides, looking both curious and irritated at once.
The young boys are allowed the luxury of ignorance; this was not their calling.
The path wide and unwinding, they walk with heads bent, their eyes glazed yet strangely distant. No one focused on the sharp stones underfoot.
Some sad sounding song is belted out by one of the heavy old women at the front of the line..
‘the burdens of you mother, the pride of us all, you carry the world on your elbow yet bend to pull out the little ones from under the fallen tree. You are the pride. You are the mother of all’
Did this absurdity make sense to the rest?
Apparently, it did. The slow unconfident voices of the girls join and fill the air with uncomfortable energy,
No one really looked forward to this walk yet any sign of dread was looked upon with fury and scorn.
Girls they were. Yet they were supposed to be the definition of ‘women’; strong and complacent.
And then it just stops. Right in the middle of a grown bush; they are told to sit. More like, to lie down.
Leaves are pulled out of the women’s bosoms and passed around between themselves.
The heavy women take their places at their girls’ side. Holding her down so tight, she whimpers for her mother but she is nowhere to be found.
The girls were sacrifices to these women; for the men, however, they were goats. Washed and fattened for the show.
No one was to show prim shyness; a crime like no other. ‘What do you think you have that the rest do not possess too? Do you think I will even remember your small flower by tomorrow morning? Open up, silly girl!”
The razor blades appear. The thorns carefully placed at their sides, she had heard of the stories. Made to sound heroic and beautiful, she screamed to be let free.
She still believed in flying wizards and personal angels and whispered sweet nothings to them. Bargaining with all four gods, ‘I swear I will be good. I will wash all the dishes and learn how to cook for mama, I swear I will.’
But the execution had begun. She bit on her lips; chewed onto her teeth and slowly lost the battle to scream out to the still cold air,
Screams resounded in the empty field with the women’s rants going alongside them; admonishing them on their lack of strength,
The process slow; snips of the flower cut off if not scraped out. What remains then held together by a thorn.
The pain, mind numbing left her hanging upside down; begging to be swallowed into any dark eternity.
Thighs wet; she is embarrassed that she has wet herself. Till she sees the women’s hands. Bloodied. Her blood.
They amble back. Somewhere back there they were declared ‘the pride of their generation’. She barely heard a word.
The world is in order. The goats return pulled and fattened; they are ready to be made the property of a ‘good boy’.
The sun slowly warming the ground, they begin the chant once again… ‘The burdens of your mother, the pride of us all, you carry the world on your elbow...’
She half-heartedly expects to be welcomed back with sounds of horns and proud claps but they are met by the young idle boys playing infront of their houses.
The world hasn’t shifted one bit yet she remains hung upside down in my mind. She returns a baffled, sore ball of confusions.
The women beam with pride claiming she was now complete. Yet she suddenly feels robbed of her essence.
I hate to admit that ‘she’ has a name. My name.
I kneel and pray. Hopefully my four gods still want me.
NO to female genital mutilation.