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Little, little lass,

youngling of the ‘weaker class’,

drowning in conflict,

trying to be self,

struggling to be world’s,

taking in each lie,

birthing train of tears,

growing up too fast,

growing down too quick,

learn, little lass, they say,

as Mama trains you for your man’s mouth and stomach,

as Uncle grooms you for his bed; one finger down there, another on your lips…shh,

as the world schools you for your husband’s side

all yays, no nays are your only languages, lass

Sit. Right

Stand. Straight

Shout. Quietly

Walk. With maths–

fast ‘minus’ slow ‘plus’ stop ‘times’ swagger ‘divided’ by catwalk,

they say, stop stop sulking, little lass

for sorrow tears blood

you’ll be praised for.

your man? his people? your babes?

sweet, sweet sorrow,

He hits you?

the trickles of tears your babes shall wipe,

blood? each moon, birth bed, perhaps, the first rod down your core,

little, little lass,

stop stop sulking,

for sweet, sweet sorrow,

truckloads of tears,

and bright, bright blood

you’ll be praised for.


Foyin Ejilola writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. She is currently a contributor at AMAKA Studio.