Museum Tales 4: Beep, Beep

Beep, Beep

 

She glides down the catwalk

Confident in her African beauty.

Her dress an African sunset,

Swirls of purple, pink, orange and blue

Catch the light, shimmer in the photographer’s glare.

She wears her chains with ease

They don’t shackle her,

She’s reclaimed them in silk.

These feet, encased in jewel encrusted shoes,

Used to walk barefooted on her way to school.

Dust staining her toes saffron.

On Saturday she’d go market with her mother

Buy green plantain, glossy yellow peppers,

Brown dried fish. The fragrance of cinnamon,

Sage, clove and cardamom intoxicated her.

Women wore their weekend best,

Colours as dazzling as the

Vegetables and spices they were buying.

She never forgets where she came from

She’s more than a clothes horse for a nation.

She’ll keep on telling of the day when

Her mother took her to the woman’s house.

Of the lightless interior and the stench of

Disinfectant and blood.  How her mother

And grandmother held her down on the green mat

While the woman cut.  She will keep on telling

How, on her seventh birthday, she became a woman.

 

Kathleen Weigelt