I hear the whispers
I see your sneers
The disdain in your eyes and the contempt your upturned noses fling at me.
“Side chick!” one hisses
“Ashawo”, the other snarls
“Husband-snatching witch”, the whole room choruses in unison.
I also see the fear
Carelessly hidden behind your mocking eyes
And the envy your jeers can’t disguise.
What draws your men to me,
Over and over again,
Like pigs to a trough.
What right have I to all that freedom?
Watch it, sister.
Your midnight ponderings
are beginning to take a toll on your edges.
I have to admit, though,
I’m a big fan of the way you get up every day
Subservient stance in place
Picture-perfect smile at the ready
“Because”, you sniff to yourself
“You’re the Mrs after all”.
He comes home to you after all
And The Other Woman is all I’ll ever be.
But, doll, you don’t understand
That’s all I intend to be
You miss the plot
But I forgive your cluelessness
Because I was once YOU
Eager to find the man who would complete me
Eager to be his Mrs
Eager to serve society
But society wasn’t there to return the favour
When he threw me across the room
In a fit of rage
Barely three months after “I do”
Society stayed silent
While I learnt to conceal my black eyes
Endured the countless broken ribs
And pretended the close shave in which I escaped
with a damaged womb never happened.
Until a wine glass
Aimed at me
Went for my little boy instead
Permanently scarring his beautiful face
I’d run out of tears to shed
So I cradled his bloodstained body to mine
Grateful that his vitals were safe
Then I packed my bags
Is that a tear in your eye?
There’s no need for that, dear
You need them more than I do
Because, I made the scumbag pay
His charred remains
Buried under the blackened ruins
Of what was once our home
Can testify to that
Your men come to me
Each hoping to be The One
Who tames the savage
And makes her ‘submit’
What they don’t expect
Is the intoxicating lure of my wildness
Or the unbridled debauched passion
I offer them beneath the sheets.
Sometimes, while in my arms
They ramble and ramble
About you who nags them to tears
And you who’s a limp rag doll in bed
Sometimes I listen
And say the words their ears crave
Then I kiss them all over
And send them home to you
Do you understand now?
I send them home to you.
Do you see now?
That the joke’s on you.
I’m not fit to be a mother, you sneer
In a final attempt to hurt
Your words hit home, I admit
And unexpectedly so.
Maybe you’re right.
Especially since society agrees
But I hope the boy who’s the centre of my world
Someday grows up to understand
Come at me with your puerile slurs
While I enjoy this freedom
Which eludes even your dreams.
Mfonobong Emerald Michael Studied Linguistics at UNIUYO. She loves penning down her thoughts in form of poetry and narratives. In her free time she enjoys teaching and shopping.