“Small Girl, Big God” by Eduoe Ndifreke
Every night, he tugs his ears at the wall demarcating his room from ours,
Hoping to gather echoes of Mama’s heart-cries
Just so he could profess solutions that would make me
Fall prey to his schemes –
Like a politician icing his poisonous tongue,
So voters may inhale an enticing breathe.
He is an offspring of the loud-old-dude
In whose abode we obtain shelter;
Therefore, he knows the numbers of akara Mama has to fry
To settle the bill of their decayed roof
Which smiles sheepishly at Mama’s bald head.
He knows the numbers of academic trials I’ve missed
For lack of “Bubu’s notes”.
Don’t ask me how I know this…
His kid sis told me
He spies on ‘skirts’ he desires his ‘generation’ to take refuge in…
So he lays ambush on the path my needs traverse,
Praying I become a casualty.
But as fate betides him,
He becomes another tragic tale in West Africa.
Who sold him the lie,
That a woman cannot butter her own bread…
Or even if she did, it was a forbidden butter?
When at some lecture hours,
While my peers get baptized in Lecturers’ drool,
My finger bones get worked up at Eka Udo’s kitchen
In the hope that someday,
My sweats would drown my tears.
Bit by bit,
My efforts begin to pay…
Mama’s akara starts to make waves…
And our dining table,
We now embarrass with swollen dishes.
He becomes marveled at how timely and easily we now pay bills,
Then turns to his friends and concludes I am a ‘runs girl’.
With cute-swollen cheeks,
I whack my African braids
At the depth of his shallowness.
To him, I am a ‘runs girl’
Because I ignored the desperate cravings of his tail…
I am a streetwalker because
I found favour in Grace’ tender arms…
He calls me a whore
Because I slay my endowments with pride…
But I do understand –
His reasoning has been veiled
With shadows of insecurity and disappointments
To the fact that
Better days lurk within the layers of time…
However, I care not how he tends to drag my name in the mud,
Because I know whose and who I am…
I am the wretched soul, made whole;
The palace slave turned princess;
The Crown of the Kingdom…
I am the eyes of the sky in darkest hours;
A death threat to night-vultures…
I am the thunderous voice of the Lion-King…
I am the Small Girl With A Big God.