BRIDE PRICE by Oku-ola Abiola Paul

25 litres of palm wine; two 10 rolls of Ankara, red and blue 50 tubers of yam One spotless ram …Is your daughter for sale? Two mighty bottles of gin Adding kolanuts too won’t be a sin Beverages for the aged of the household And cash for the young and...

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THANK YOU, MA’AMI

‘Maami,’ the sonorous tenor called. ‘I’m in love with a preacher,’ Mother’s grinding stopped! ‘Is there no one richer?’ Maami, ‘I’m in love with another, he’s neither a preacher nor a teacher’, ‘omo daadaa, you have my blessings God be in your dealings!’ Maami, ‘my back aches, my legs swell,...

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I RETCHED

Let me tell you the repulsive story of the vomit I disgorged yesterday. Yesterday my student– little miss Sadat– missed from class And days and days I saw neither ghost nor slough And so I was all questions and no answers.

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LOVER’S AGONY

The clock’s fingers show the night has been halved Alas, sleep has eluded me once again as has become his practise of late I peer through emptiness, seeing nothing testament to my weakness against nature Beside me is the one, my light but also the cause of my predicament I...

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OMOTUGHELE

Sango and I dipped starch in Oghwevwri The night they sang of Omotughele’s beauty On that day, my Ugboma parted with Erhi Ovigueraye! Finding ‘Motughele was my duty … I bear a penis but I’m no ordinary man I do not squeeze my juice into every bowl Ask, many hearts...

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THE WIFE MATERIAL

She’s like a butterfly Her love is hard to get All the men try But no one has had her yet She believes in fairy tales Her man will come someday She says her God never fails So her prince is on his way You’ll never find her in the...

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FRUITLESS

Will this wait ever end? Will the time ever come? Oh my womb! When will something sprout? Husband calls me a slut “You had too many abortions” Me! But I knew no man Until I became a bride Mother-in-law mocks I bear scar from her lip-whip Even my mother says...

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CONJUGAL RAPE

Get down to the bed And let me make you red After all I’ve paid the dowry It’s time to pay yours Off with your clothes And out with the light I will make love with you tonight It’s my given right Shut your mouth Menstruation or not I have...

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FORGIVE ME

I am to blame For being the Judas of the game I turn your days awful Turned your soul sorrowful In your heart and brain I evoked brutal pain Caused you unnecessary fears Scalded innocent eyes with tears Truly, I am sorry Ne’er again will I make you worry This...

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LORD, WHO WILL I MARRY?

Underneath the doleful clouds Stood I, lone and haggard Ashore a forlorn sea Mooning over To the tale of sad-love The giants who marry their graves And the sweet nectars Which later turn to poison For the conjugal bees In their marital flowers I’ve heard of miseries, The moon that...

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